Thursday, July 12, 2007

fSONA: Is anyone there? / fSONA: est-ce que quelqu'un est là ?

fSONA makes high-capacity wireless optical systems (using lasers) that can be used for point-to-point communication without a license. I wanted to call them to ask about prices - possibly as a way to avoid digging the 310 meters from our residence to the exchange. I know. It's a longshot but I figured I'd give it a try.

The reason I thought of fSONA was because I had fairly good contact with their company in my previous job. They found an interesting niche and their marketing team was always very helpful at providing me with case studies and background information when I needed it.

Now, fast forward a few years and I'm calling as a possible client - not as an analyst. I visited their site and there was no pricing information. I waited until evening my time (in Paris) and called their US/Canadian numbers to speak with the sales department. They didn't answer and I was routed through to an outsourced answering service which offered to take a message. I gave them my information and then was hit with his doosie of a question:

Operator: "How much do you want to spend?"

Tad: "As little as possible!"

The first thing I though of was Clark W. Griswold's experience with the mechanic in "National Lampoon's Vacation".

I called back for four days straight and they don't seem to be answering their phones. Each time I leave a message for them to call me and I still haven't heard from them. It's too bad because their marketing team really stood out for how hard they worked to raise the company's visibility. Now they seem like a company that can't manage answering their own phones in the sales department. Ouch.

It certainly doesn't seem like a good sign for fSONA.


Anonymous said...

You won't save any money woth fSona. Just dig the 300 m and write off the investment over 20 years.

Tad said...

Anonymous: I'm sure you're right. They still haven't called or written back either - even after I sent them an e-mail with a copy of my post.

Digging the road 310 meters is one possibility but then I'd still have to sign a 10 year contract with the backhaul provider (Yvelines Numeriques) and pay them each month for the connection to the St Nom exchange.

Another option would be digging the rest of the way to the exchange (+ 200 meters). Once there I should be able to interconnect with other operators who already pay the fee to Yvelines Numeriques to reach the exchange.

It does increase the money I'd need to pull together up front though.

Tad said...

Update: fSONA contacted me and sent me some price estimates. I haven't had time to go over them in much detail but it's looking like the price would be between EUR 20,000 and 30,000 to cover the distance I would need. My first early impression is the difference between the optical wireless network and digging up the street aren't much different.