Initiates a new program to tie all services and media to packet-based access, Ethernet in particular

July 20, 2004

3 Min Read

ASHBURN, Va. -- MCI (NASDAQ:MCIP) today unveiled the industry’s first Converged Packet Access (CPA) strategy which will serve as the company’s next generation access network infrastructure. Once implemented, CPA will give customers a practical and cost-effective means of migrating their access infrastructure from the rigid Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) hierarchy used today to a flexible infrastructure based on packet technology. MCI has developed a standards-based carrier-class architecture that leverages the best attributes of Ethernet and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology, and is capable of delivering both legacy and next-generation packet services via a common, converged access connection from the customer premise.

"Customer access is the final frontier in creating a network that is truly converged from end-to-end,” said Fred Briggs, president of MCI Operations and Technology. “As more customers move to packet services for their communications needs, Converged Packet Access will provide the speed, scalability and efficiencies that large enterprises and small businesses will need to quickly adapt to changing business requirements. CPA will bring the power and reach of the MCI global IP network directly to our customers’ front doors."

Historically, individual communication services have been provisioned on separate physical TDM facilities (e.g., a voice circuit for phone calls and separate circuit for data traffic). By combining all services on a single access facility, CPA will simplify the customer premise equipment required to run even the most complex networking services and reduce associated access costs to MCI.

CPA architecture consolidates all services – Frame Relay, Private IP, IP VPN, Ethernet, Private Line, and voice – onto a single packet access connection to the customer via a simple, low-cost Ethernet interface (10bT, 100bT and Gig E). The initial services supported by CPA will include U.S. Private Line Ethernet Services, enhanced Metro Private Line Ethernet Service and expanded coverage of MCI's Internet Dedicated Ethernet Service.

"MCI's Converged Packet Access strategy is a bold, innovative approach to improving both its customers' experience and its operating efficiency," said Brian Van Steen, senior analyst of RHK, a leading communications market analysis and consulting firm. "CPA is an important step forward for MCI in addressing the access needs of its customers as they increasingly adopt packet-based services."CPA is compatible with any means of physical access and will securely accommodate an on-net access connection provided directly by MCI or a third party leased line. Once an initial physical connection is established, MCI customers can logically provision capacity and services as needed without requiring physical changes to the network. CPA will eliminate the need for customers to buy separate access lines for each service they use, and will allow customers to upgrade their bandwidth allocation within hours rather than in weeks with today’s traditional TDM installation. Also, in order to ensure the security and quality of service of customer traffic, MPLS tunneling technology is utilized to create logical channels that securely separate customer’s services. In the future, customers will be able to manage their networks via an intelligent Web-based portal that provides full control over their networking needs.

“An added benefit of CPA is its ability to allow MCI customers to leverage their existing network equipment to maximize the value and extend the life of their IT investments,” said Briggs. “At the same time, CPA will enable MCI to improve performance and increase its operating efficiency by streamlining the provisioning process and to reduce MCI’s cost of service by converging its customers’ communications services from multiple access circuits to a single high-capacity line.”

MCI and its vendors have constructed the building blocks of the CPA architecture, which includes four key components: (1) an Ethernet traffic aggregator; (2) a new Layer 2 and TDM grooming infrastructure; (3) an optical add-drop multiplexer; and (4) a packet-enabled service edge. This equipment allows MCI to aggregate traffic originating from one large business customer or many small business customers in a multi-tenant business building across a single, secure network access circuit.

MCI Inc.

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