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American Crafts Sees Drastic Bandwidth Improvement with UTOPIA

January 7th, 2013

American Crafts of Orem was founded in 1994 by Steve and Alma Mitchell. Their initial focus was the general crafting market. In the late ‘90s, the firm’s focus shifted to creating innovative, well-designed products for the emerging scrapbooking industry. Since then, American Crafts has steadily expanded its product offering, becoming a trendsetter along the way.

With a robust e-commerce presence, American Crafts has to rely on its network. According to Kris Barlow, IT Manager, before switching to UTOPIA, the firm used a single T-1 connection, along with two additional T-1 connections to connect a remote warehouse in Provo. “Our Provo location was using an iProvo connection at the time. By switching to UTOPIA, we could use a single fiber connection to our headquarters building which provided much faster Internet speeds—up to 10 Mbps on our service plan, as compared with traditional T-1 speeds.”

Since switching to UTOPIA, American Crafts has consolidated the headquarters and remote warehouse locations into a single building. “We still use our UTOPIA connection for Internet service. It is plenty fast for what we need and, so far, has been able to handle our capacity requirements,” Barlow explains. “About a year and a half ago we switched our email system to Google Apps for Business, which requires more Internet access to take advantage of the full suite of services offered by Google. Along with that we also transmit many large artwork files to various suppliers and keep ports open for employees to remotely connect from home. So far we haven’t seen any trouble in running all of these services through the UTOPIA connection.”

Barlow cites the network’s reliability as a key benefit. “In the three years that we’ve had UTOPIA service, I can remember only two or three service interruptions, all of which were resolved within the same day and were not related specifically to our connection,” he says. “Using the UTOPIA network has allowed us to drastically reduce the fee that we pay for Internet service when compared to the T-1 connections we were previously using, all while also drastically increasing the bandwidth of the connection.”

The open-access nature of the network is another benefit. Barlow reports that during the firm’s transition from a traditional T1 to the fiber network, American Crafts was able to stay with the company that provided their phone service and T1 connections, because they were also an ISP on the UTOPIA network. “This allowed for us to simply add the UTOPIA service to our current provider’s bill and allowed us to avoid the hassle of establishing a new account with a new provider,” Barlow says.