Founding SezamPro


In our circumstances the foundation of an on-line system was almost an unsolvable problem. First of all, there is the problem of getting telephone lines, which is almost as easy as trisecting the angle. However, during all those years of crisis we realized so many times that it should be better to leave the indolent and complicated surroundings of the BIGZ company and to found a private company to manage the Sezam system. We were positive that Sezam could become profitable, so we were ready to invest in it. But, every time it came to the question of getting an appropriate number of telephone lines, all our wishes and hopes became pointless.

After a few consultations with Danko Jevtovic and Nenad Jovanovic of Jugodata Company, in May 1995, we started to make new plans for a new system. There was a possibility to get five telephone lines on the new Alcatel telephone exchange. We made a financial construction of the project, and finally, on June 9, 1994 decided to take a chance and founded a new company "Profesionalni komunikacioni sistemi" (PCS).

I can't say it was a success from the beginning: after we paid for those five telephone lines, it turned out they were not on the Alcatel telephone exchange, but on the old exchange that couldn't provide steady connection at 2400 BPS, not to talk about 14400 BPS. To be honest, we got the assurance that the lines would be transferred as soon as possible, but we had to wait for that occasion for six months. The new lines and the equipment of the experimental system were ready on April 16, 1995.

Until the end of the year we were trying to find out a reasonable way to prolong the collaboration with the old system and the new SezamPro, but there was no hope. So, at the end of November, Zoran, Danko and I (Nesa left for Canada in the meanwhile) finally decided to drop all negotiations and to start from the very beginning with the new, independent system.

Only few weeks have passed from the moment of our decision to its realization. All the Sezam system moderators have joined us in our new project. Zoran had prepared a new version of the software. We appealed to the Sezam users, and they understood our decision: the number of users on the new system surpassed even very optimistic forecasts. Very soon, eight dial-in lines became insufficient.

SezamPro started with the commercial performance on Tuesday, 19th November 1995, at 3:40 AM, after a very exciting night of the final software tuning. I don't have to mention the great contribution of all our system moderators that night, and later on. First days were really chaotic. Maybe someday I'm going to write some more about these first days - some time has to past first, so I can divide significant facts from insignificant ones. Until than, you can read the review of the most important stages of the SezamPro development.

The first year

At the very beginning, we said that SezamPro would be the system dedicated to professional computer users, interested in quality services and good connections with other systems. The basic of good connections with other system is, of course, the Internet. But at the end of 1995, the Internet connection was pretty uncertain - nobody in Yugoslavia had Internet link. It turned out that the idea was fairly achievable, but the realization was very complicated and expensive.

SezamPro has realized the Internet project in three phases. In the first phase, at the end of January 1996, the direct connection was established with the only Internet provider in Yugoslavia - the academic network. We picked up the connection point on the Faculty of Technology in Belgrade. Our choice was made not only because of the direct access to the Token Ring "optics", that connects all the faculties, but also for the big help from professor Dragan Mitrakovic. The leased line provided email exchange with the whole country and the world.

The first phase was completed with the opening of the first Cyber café in Yugoslavia - the SezamCafé. This was a way to create the market - the Café was the place for people who don't have a computer (or a modem), so they can see and feel the Internet, contact their friends in the world, collect and transfer information...

The second phase ended in September 1996. We had to extend the incoming channels because our eight lines were barely enough for the console access to the system. Internet was going to keep our users on-line much longer. We invested in 18 new dial-in lines. We got them thanks to Ljubisa Vujacic, who helped us a lot during the negotiations with our Telecom Company (PTT). We also made some changes to the software - Zoran Zivotic ported the SezamPro software to the 32-bit Windows NT platform. The system was now accessible from any computer in the world, and (after a while) from new lines connected to the terminal server.

We still had to arrange for the "wire to the provider". The line became operational on October 25, and on October 29 1996, the Internet had a gala promotion party in Sezam Café. After a few days of trial work, on November 1, SezamPro finally offered full Internet access. That's how we became a part of the information superhighway.

And beyond...

In the early 2000s SezamPro grew to become the leading independent ADSL broadband provider in Serbia, with more than 40,000 ADSL users and strong backbone infrastructure. We offered wireless and Direct @ Home broadband access, followed by the flexible VoIP service. Separate Hosting company was founded to serve the needs of business users,

As of March 2006 SezamPro shop is situated in the very center of Belgrade, 20 King Peter's street.

In December 2009 SezamPro became the part of the Greenhouse Telecommunications holding.