An Exeter-based importer of Parmesan cheese has benefited from the installation of a CityFibre 500Mb line, providing the company with the stable connection it needs to continue its growth thanks to Triangle Networks who worked in partnership with CityFibre to launch the city’s full fibre network.
Dalter Group is one of Europe’s leading producers of Parmigiano Reggiano, or Parmesan cheese. From its UK offices in Exeter, the company supplies household name restaurant chains and major retailers with the indispensable garnish for pasta dishes and also with quality Italian meats and sauces.
The company produces its own cheese and other products in the area around the towns of Reggio Emilia and Parma in north central Italy. It uses local suppliers and in doing so helps to support the local economy.
Dalter UK was set up in 2011 and has grown quickly with 10 employees and turnover of £18 million in 2017. The management team of Luc Logan, Business Unit Manager, and Ian Hopkins, Supply Chain Manager, had previously worked with a locally-based food importer. When that company went out of business, it left a gap in the market. They sensed an opportunity, stayed in contact with the Dalter Group team in Italy and soon found themselves setting up the UK branch of the firm.
They now oversee a thriving business with new supplies being shipped into the UK warehouse every week to satisfy the growing demand for these premium Italian food products.
Dalter UK’s IT systems had, from the outset, been run on servers located in the Italian company’s offices. This meant that it needed good communications. Initially, when the business was relatively small, a simple broadband connection was sufficient for its needs.
Steady growth led to a relocation to larger premises in 2017 and although it had twin ADSL lines in the new premises, as activity increased, the relatively low bandwidth available began to slow things down, as Luc explains.
“We really did need to be connected 100 percent of the time and have a stable connection. We had two lines to try and spread the load, but we were only getting something like 15Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps uploads. BT had a higher speed [Leased Line] option available, but if we’d taken that we’d have been paying through the nose. It was something like £600 a month. There was really nothing in the middle that would give us the speeds and the infrastructure and reliability that we needed – and that was also commercially viable for our business.”
It was a happy coincidence that, at about this time, Joshua Beck from south-west based ICT business, ITEC, contacted Luc with a proposition. ITEC had been supplying Dalter UK with business printing solutions for some time and had recently been made aware by its specialist connectivity partner, Triangle Networks, that high-speed CityFibre circuits would soon be available in Exeter.
It was perfect timing, said Luc. “When I spoke about the CityFibre connection to Josh, I bit his hand off, because it was just what we needed.
“The CityFibre circuit would provide 500Mbps speeds in both directions. This was right at the start of the CityFibre build programme and it took a little while for the connection to be hooked up, mainly because CityFibre had to carry out the necessary groundworks to get the fibre cables laid and routed to Dalter’s building. Once the work was done, everything went very smoothly. We got there and honestly, it was seamless. When it launched it worked and it has worked ever since.”
The CityFibre connection has benefited Dalter UK massively, says Luc. “The biggest difference is that we have a stable connection now. Before, especially with the low upload speed of 1Mbps, our VPN connection would keep dropping out and that would happen quite regularly, perhaps three or four times a day. It was frustrating, because we’d have to close down and start-up again.
“Now we are working ten hours a day and it’s a solid connection. We are not using all the capacity but that’s not a problem because it’s affordable and we are a growing business – and we know that we can increase the speed if we need to.”
While Dalter UK has a 500Mbps connection, the CityFibre infrastructure in Exeter can support speeds of up to 1Gbps, should Dalter UK ever require that kind of capacity.
Luc has been pleased with the service and support Dalter UK has received from ITEC and CityFibre. “They have been very good. They kept us informed, even on things that were out of their control. You just want to know what is happening don’t you? And Josh was always available and always got straight back to me. The CityFibre guys arrived when he said they would be there, we honestly have no complaints – they were fantastic really, we got a really good service.”
There had been no issues with the connection – no downtime, loss of service or problems with speed or reliability – in the first four months since Dalter UK went live with the CityFibre connection.
It was such a good service that a few months later, Dalter UK decided to entrust its IT support to ITEC. “When you have confidence in a company you tend to back them don’t you?” said Luc. That’s also been a good experience to date and as the business continues to grow, it expects to make very good use of the CityFibre connection.
In addition, Dalter UK has the reassurance of a service level agreement (SLA) that specifies a five-hour fix, so they are receiving the service level and fix-times as they might expect on a Leased Line, but for a fraction of the cost they’d have to pay for the same speeds.