A QUARTER of a century of success and innovation is something to celebrate – even for a business that takes quiet pride in describing itself as Inverness’s best kept secret.
Led by father and son team Dave and David Siegel – with David’s daughters making it a third generation – telecoms specialist HighNet at the end of 2019 marked 25 years of bringing cutting edge technology to its customers in the Highlands and across the UK.
Now a well-established and highly regarded company with 50 employees across its two bases in Inverness and Glasgow and an annual turnover in excess of £12 million, David acknowledges that HighNet might not be widely known outside the business community, but once he explains what the company can do and the type of blue chip clients it works with, newcomers to the business are typically impressed.
“We have never, ever bragged about success,” David said.
“For us, it has always been about delivering a service and a product that is consistent and doing that to the very best of our ability. As a result, we create high quality sustainable jobs, and the area really needs those.”
As the business has grown, moving first to premises in Gordon Terrace and then Lotland Street before transferring into its Cradlehall headquarters in 2012, it has achieved a number of notable firsts for the area, helping the Highlands keep pace with communications technology.
“We were the first company locally to be able to compete with BT in installing telephone systems, the first to retail mobile phones in the area, the first to deliver ISDN equipped telephone systems and the first to offer alternative call rates to BT,” Dave said.
David added: “We were the first in Scotland and second in the UK to deliver the wholesale line rental service from BT. And the irony is that these have now gone full life cycle, from us introducing them to the Highlands, to being phased out by 2025 and be replaced by a completely IP [internet protocol] structure.”
Once again, HighNet is ahead of the curve when it comes to being ready for that change. While some businesses are still debating a move to an IP service, HighNet has been offering its customers cloud based IP provision for 15 years, having been one of the first in Scotland to offer IP telephony. It is these rapid changes in technology which keep the HighNet business fresh and interesting.
It is these rapid changes in technology which keep the HighNet business fresh and interesting.
“Every four years, our business evolves,” David said. “It’s not just a little bit, it’s a complete evolution. It definitely never gets to the point when it’s boring. There is always something new coming along. We look back at what we did when we started this business and it is amazing how far we have come – some companies when they are celebrating anniversaries put their prices back to when they started. If we did that, we would make a fortune! Phone calls were 8p a minute, they are now 0.8p a minute. Mobile calls were 25p. Now they are 2.5p. That’s innovation and competition for you.”