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If it weren’t for Metronet, the GramTel data services company would probably never have opened a second data center in South Bend’s Blackthorne Corporate Park last fall.

And it certainly wouldn’t be considering opening a third data center in the city this year.

"Metronet has definitely helped our growth," says Rich Carlton, a GramTel vice president.

At the grand opening of the Blackthorne facility, South Bend Mayor Steve Luecke lauded GramTel’s expansion and said it "helps us to tell our story about the infrastructure we have in place to support high-tech companies."

Carlton says GramTel is used by scores of client companies − from Chicago to Hollywood and beyond − for off-site data storage, as well as disaster recovery.

In addition to recovery due to storms or even potential terrorist attacks, he says many companies use firms like Gram Tel to comply with government regulations dealing with safe storage of medical, financial and legal records.

Carlton says his company chose South Bend to start and expand because of its proximity to Chicago. GramTel’s corporate headquarters is also located in South Bend.

Carlton says the Metronet permits his company and others to purchase bandwidth at a lower price "so we can keep our costs down, offer increased connectivity speed, boost reliability and go to voice-over IP technology much more cost effectively.

"Metronet has definitely benefited the organizations that are located in South Bend," he says.

Though GramTel has clients around the country, he says the bulk are located in the Windy City.

"With Metronet, we have invested in long-haul connectivity between downtown Chicago and Metronet," he says.

"So companies can send data on a shared connection into our centers and connect to their systems in Indiana from Chicago for very inexpensive rates compared to what they would have to spend if they went to other parts of the country."

Carlton says the second data center was built in South Bend mainly because so many Chicago firms "were seeing the benefit of having disaster recovery in South Bend."

"At roughly 90 miles, it’s far enough away to be safe, yet close enough to still be drivable," says Carlton, whose company was started in 2000 and has used Metronet since it was founded in 2006.

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