How a Doncaster business is preparing for possible major changes to the phones system which would affect you
Phones are changing – and for one Doncaster firm that could mean big expansion on a global scale.
Jibba Jabba, a communiations firm based at the Keepmoat Stadium has its eyes fixed firmly on the possibility that old style telephones could see their signal switched off, in a similar way to how old style analogue television signals were axed.
Openreach, Britain’s digital network business, ran a consultation about the move from analogue phones to digital voice services, considering closing the anaolgue phone landlines in 2025.
Boss Ashley Harris reckons if there is a big switch-off in 2025, it will be a major opportunity for firms like his, which would see large scale expansion for his firm.
Jibba Jabba provides Voice Over Internet Protocol systems – often referred to by the acronym VOIP.
Basically, it puts together systems that allow people to make phone calls using the internet rather than old-style telephone landlines. The systems also offer extra features like call queueing and diverting to other phones, potentially in different geographical locations.
Jibba Jabba have their own software system, and have already had their technology fitted into a number of high profile Doncaster businesses and venues, including the Keepmoat Stadium, where their own offices are located.
Director Mr Harris believes the proposed changes in landlines could be massive opportunity.
He said: “If and when the landlines are switched off, everyone is going to go to VOIP.”
Jibba Jabba was set up as Lakeside IT, when the firm built a wireless internet network around the time that South Yorkshire was planning its Digital Region, to provide high speed broadband across the county.
It built a network of dishes on site across the region, including high rise flats, the pit tower at Harworth Colliery and floodlight pylons at the Keepmoat Stadium.
It sold its network several years ago and switched to VOIP and broadband work, but kept the name.
He said: “We have our own platform for these networks, with our own source code. Some companies buy a service from a third party and re-sell it. We don’t do that, and we think that will give us an advantage.
“As a business, we think these are exciting times. We’ve now got our own full time developer, full time graphic designer and people who look after our customers.
“We have also taken on a finance director who has come in to analyse the business and prepare it for potential investment. There’s an argument that we could go ahead self funded.
“But we have three business plans. One is to go national. An second is to expand across Europe. The third is to expand globally.
“We have already been offered six figure investment from the Middle East, but we have not progressed that yet, because we don’t want to do anything until we are ready.
“Self finance is an option. We already re-invest profits within the business.
“But if there is a chance that 2025 is going to be a year of opportunity in the UK market, we need to be ready.”
Jibba Jabba already has clients overseas. Around a third of its income streams come from abroad, wirth customers in the Middle East, Austrialia, and, after having recently taken its first client in the country, the United States.
At present there are eight staff based at the companies Doncaster office.
If the expansion goes ahead, it is likely that there will also be an office in London, with overseas offices if the international expantion plans go ahead.
But the firm plans to keep its main headquarters in Doncaster, with more personnel likely to be recruited in the area.
“Doncaster will grow,” said Mr Harris. “The others will be satellite offices.
“The biggest thing for me, is that we have a sales team to see what they could achieve and see what is achieveable. Whatever we do has to be sustainable ot things won’t work.”
Mr Harris set up Lakeside IT in 2005, having previously been the national IT manager for SOLACE, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.
But he always planned to set up his own business.
His father ran his own printing business, and he wanted to emulate him by going into business himself.
“The company has evolved from IT to telecommunications,” he said. “These are exciting times for us.”