Sichuun Review: Year One
by Peter Leaton, Chief Executive Officer, Sichuun Inc. As we kick off the new year, I wanted to take some time to sincerely thank our staff, our customers and the Schefferville, Matimekosh and Kawawachikamach communities that we serve… Sichuun’s first full year certainly has been memorable! I also wanted to provide a brief review of the year to help recognize and celebrate the organization’s accomplishments - I couldn’t be prouder of the great team here!
Here are a few highlights over the last year or so that have helped us evolve to where we are today:
- There is a long history with many things coming together, but Sichuun was created In April 2019 through a collaboration between the three First Nations and a number of key partners.
- Following this were a number of key strategic technology and service partnerships developed to ensure a best of breed customer experience.
- In December of 2019, we completed full fibre connectivity from Schefferville to Montreal, bringing the country’s best Internet experience to the region.
- We held a logo contest and selected James Uniam’s entry as the winner… Thank you again James!
- Our first commercial clients (the two band offices) were turned on in January, bringing in our first actual revenues.
- We opened our Operations Centre in Schefferville… it’s been wonderful to see how it’s evolved and the amazing employees we’ve added here.
- We also began technical trials of the Home and Business Internet solutions with beta customers.
March - June
- We introduced three Home Internet packages, including a basic Internet only service and two triple play packages at higher speeds (50 Mbps & an unlimited 100 Mbps) with a VoIP line and free basic IPTV package (when it became available).
- We also launched Business Internet packages and other commercial services, including Active Ethernet, VoIP, Wi-Fi, Security, Operations Management, IT Support, Networking, AV, Equipment Rentals and Wholesale solutions.
- Literally the day after we launched our residential services, the community shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic… While this certainly slowed down our installations and closed the retail store (to ensure the safety of both our customers and employees), we kept the office open and continued connecting houses that did not require any work in the home. Yet another reason I am proud of and thankful for our awesome team!
- As requested by multiple customers, we introduced online bill payments via BMO, CIBC and Desjardins, simplifying the pre-paid billing process.
- By the halfway point of the year, we had most commercial/institutional organizations connected, and almost 300 residential customers.
- Our peak download was 1.72Gbps, and we were burning through 175,000GB of data per month!
August - September
- We launched our new and comprehensive website - Sichuun.com- which included more details on all available products and solutions, as well as our popular Community Connections section.
- Community Connections comprises our Sichuun Blog where we’ve covered a number of topics you’ve told us are important to the community. These include Internet privacy (how to protect your family online), parental controls, managing kids screen time and many more. We’re always looking for new topics to explore that can help the community and welcome your feedback here.
- We introduced a new category of products called Special Buys which are specific high-demand products or bulk purchases made available because you asked for them. Subsequently we’ve launched a number of special buys, including gaming gear and PC/monitor bundles, gaming consoles, big screen TV + audio bar and more.
- We finally introduced IPTV in mid-October to great fanfare with our customers as this had long been anticipated - and completes our promise of providing high quality Internet + Voice + TV, often known in the industry as the Triple Play. We had hoped to launch earlier but needed a solution with both features and programming content that would work for our customers. I really believe it was worth the wait. We’ve since launched a number of new packages and promotions that customers have requested, and we expect strong growth here.
So all in all, how did we do in 2020? Well, I have to say the community feedback we’ve had on the services we provide has been pretty positive. Our customers are using their lightning Internet speeds for distance education, business collaboration, healthcare, gaming and entertainment, and perhaps most importantly for keeping close with loved ones during the pandemic. Oh, and of course saving hundreds of dollars monthly compared with other alternatives. It’s for these reasons we’re seeing explosive Internet usage in the region- up to almost 500 users now and about 1650% growth in total data consumption of the last 12 months. The average user consumption has also grown more than 50% during the same timeline… it’s clear that our community is putting this to good use! Where are we going next? 2020 has been a year to remember, for many reasons both good and bad. I’m proud of the team and their accomplishments, but even more excited about our future together. We will continue to improve how we serve our customers, and have a number of initiatives already in place to accomplish this. We will continue to listen to your feedback, and you’ll likely see some additional surveys seeking your guidance in the new year on potential products and services to bring into the region. With the best Internet service in Canada, VoIP with unlimited long distance, and great IPTV packages in place, we have the foundation to bring even more world class technology into the region and will continue down this path. This will include a completely new LTE solution we plan on introducing this summer- stay tuned for more information as this progresses. Thanks one more time! So that’s my take on 2020, our first full year in operation. On behalf of the Sichuun team, I want to thank you for your business, for your support, and for your acceptance of Sichuun as part of the extended community. I strongly believe the future looks bright for both Sichuun and the Schefferville, Matimekosh and Kawawachikamach region - and we look forward to helping you connect, communicate and thrive. Happy New Year! Peter Leaton, CEO, Sichuun Inc. If you enjoyed this, you might like: