Ethernet equipment

AlcaLu Expands at BT

LAS VEGAS -- NXTcomm 2008 -- Alcatel is about to seriously expand its presence in the BT 21CN network, as its 7750 Service Router has been chosen to run a new Ethernet wholesaling service.

AlcaLu's 7750 Service Routers are already in 106 exchanges on the 21CN network. That number is being expanded to 600 in 2009, eventually growing to 1,000, says Lindsay Newell, vice president of marketing for AlcaLu's router side. (See BT Selects AlcaLu Router.)

AlcaLu announced the deal yesterday (June 17). Terms aren't being disclosed, but the prospect of increasing sales ninefold into this network has to have AlcaLu smiling.

"It's big for them, because that's a massive number for that box," says Stan Hubbard, an analyst with Heavy Reading.

The new wave of 7750s will fuel BT's wholesale Ethernet services on 21CN, spreading that service offering to more parts of the network. The deal could also be seen as "very much an expansion of the use of the 7750 further out into the aggregation parts of the network," Newell says.

Before 21CN, BT was using the 7750 in a VPLS offering in London. That got subsumed into 21CN, eventually growing into the 106-exchange deployment.

BT's choice of AlcaLu comes as the carrier confirms it's decided to lower the volume on its support for Provider Backbone Transport (PBT, also called PBB-TE). (See PBT Sidelined at BT.) AlcaLu hasn't joined the PBT camp, instead saying MPLS and transport MPLS (T-MPLS) are fine for delivering carrier-class Ethernet services.

"We decided PBT was interesting, but was not what our customers need at this time," a BT spokesman says. The deciding factor: Customers want multipoint services, which MPLS does better, according to BT.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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