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Victoria communications start-up targets business phone, Internet

Ryley MacKenzie

Victoria's healthy high-tech industry added a new player, with a wireless telecom service setting up shop in the city.

Evoshift Communications aims to reduce the cost of phone and Internet service for small- and medium-sized businesses in Victoria by connecting communication devices with WiMax.

"What makes Evoshift unique is we own the network," said CEO and founder Ryley MacKenzie.

A large family and what he calls a lack of telecom options in Victoria brought MacKenzie here.

The company's wireless base is located on View Street. Businesses located within a 20-kilometre radius can access the system, and phones, Internet and smartphone devices are able to run off a wireless router located in the business.

MacKenzie said a busines Evoshift phone number can be accessed from anywhere in the world, although long distance charges apply. The company works with an iPhone and an Android app to allow mobile device users to run their smartphone parallel to their business phone.

Major providers, such as Telus and Shaw, offer similar, but not the same, service.

"This is a rapidly evolving area and there's a lot of options out there for businesses and consumers alike," said Shawn Hall, spokesperson for Telus.

He said Telus has looked into WiMax, but opted for HSPA+.

"The key thing to watch is not just what network you're on, but also what devices you can use," Hall said.

MacKenzie said his ultimate goal is to reduce the cost of Internet and phone service for businesses after witnessing his mother's interior design business' phone bills top $400 per month.

Plans with Evoshift that combine, Internet, phone and smartphone access start at $79.

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