Light Reading

tw telecom Embraces Ethernet Everywhere

Alan Breznick

CHICAGO -- Light Reading's Big Telecom Event -- Viewing the Internet as not reliable or secure enough to meet the bandwidth needs of its commercial customers, tw telecom is moving to offer higher-quality Ethernet service on a dynamic, scalable basis.

In a keynote address here Tuesday morning, Mike Rouleau, senior vice president of business development and strategy for tw telecom inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC), spelled out his company’s efforts to deliver Ethernet service in a much quicker, more flexible way than before. With customers increasingly demanding more bandwidth in much shorter time cycles, Rouleau argued that providers must adapt their service delivery models to meet these needs.

"There's a shift going on in the business," he said. "We have to give customers flexibility." He noted that customers now plan out their activities only 90 to 120 days in advance, rather than years ahead.

As a result, Rouleau said providers must shift away from the old "static" standard of "a very cumbersome ordering process" with 30-60-90 day service delivery, and long-term contracts. Referring to the proposed new delivery model as "performance-assured Ethernet everywhere," he said, providers should adopt an on-demand model that allows customers to click to connect, use what you need, and pay as you go.

Rouleau said tw telecom, one of the biggest Ethernet providers in the US, now set to be acquired by Level 3 Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT), is trying to do just that with its relatively new Dynamic Capacity product. This service, which has now been in the market about 18 months, allows customers to double or triple their bandwidth in short-term bursts within a minute, schedule bandwidth hikes in advance, and set up automatic increases when network congestion hits certain levels. (See Level 3 to Acquire tw telecom for $5.7B and Level With Me: When Rumors Get Real.)

"We have to give our customers the flexibility to automatically provision and deliver services when and where they want it," he said.

To illustrate his point, Rouleau served up two brief customer case studies. In the first example, Mazda North America is using the Dynamic Capacity service to schedule regular weekly bandwidth hikes as part of its disaster recovery plan. In the second, Brock White, a construction materials firm in the Twin Cities area, is boosting its bandwidth almost in real-time so it can replicate its data center network every 15 minutes.

In addition, Rouleau said service providers must offer much greater network visibility and transparency to their customers. With such key data analytics, he said, providers can be more responsive to their customers and they, in turn, can be the same to theirs.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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User Rank: Moderator
6/27/2014 | 10:35:20 AM
I like to see this flexibility coming to market. A fomer employer of mine would have preferred this over the static model during the busy season. Increasing bandwidth on a schedule to avoid overpaying the rest of the year would have been an excellent cost-saving option.

"This service, which has now been in the market about 18 months, allows customers to double or triple their bandwidth in short-term bursts within a minute, schedule bandwidth hikes in advance, and set up automatic increases when network congestion hits certain levels."
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/17/2014 | 2:43:14 PM
Love Ethernet
Ethernet is the answer to a lot of things on the delivery side of things, build it and manage it, its far more flexible than some older network technologies that services providers had built out. Getting it in place is the hard part for some smaller providers though because there is a large upfront investment. 
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