More Rides Coming on Colt's NGN
Colt, which delivers voice and data services to European businesses in 13 countries, is building out a new integrated carrier Ethernet and IMS-based service delivery and management platform that will eat up between €50 million and €100 million ($79.5 million to $159 million) of the operator's capex in the coming years.
Dr. Alireza Mahmoodshahi, one of the European carrier Ethernet sector's most prominent figures, says the equipment deals announced Monday are for the carrier's initial phase of its "Next Generation Solutions'" strategy, and that "there could be other suppliers" for phases two and three, "though I don't want to mention other names at this stage."
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is believed to have been in the running for the Ethernet-centric multiservice platform (MSP) infrastructure part of the rollout, but lost out to NSN.
And there were plenty of others pitching for the business too. "We had 13 different vendors for the MSP and IMS, and we created two shortlists," says the CTO, though he says he can't name the other shortlisted vendors.
So why did Sonus and NSN win out? "It wasn't easy, but we chose Sonus because of what they can do for VOIP and in IMS, and particularly the service brokering capabilities – Sonus is leading in that area. And now we are developing further capabilities with them."
For NSN, its management system, ease of use, and fault management capabilities were winning criteria, according to the Colt CTO. "ASPEN [Atrica Service Platform for Ethernet Networks] was one of the key issues in making the decision to choose NSN, but not the only one. It wasn't purely a technology decision – the NSN solution, because it is end to end, gives our customers ease of use for provisioning and cost of delivery. And the troubleshooting is much easier and quicker than with Ethernet over SDH," says Mahmoodshahi.
The CTO believes the new network, as it is rolled out across Europe, will give it a much stronger proposition in terms of service provisioning. "The new platform will enable much faster delivery of services – we are talking about days in terms of service provisioning. This is a native, end-to-end Ethernet architecture," including the customer premises equipment, which is all managed by the ASPEN software.
Mahmoodshahi is also quick to note that not all of Colt's customers are connected to its fiber. Those that are, the "on net" customers, will be able to upgrade to the new NSN platform and deploy the new CPE, but the "off net" customers that have to rely on copper connections to their buildings are also catered for with carrier Ethernet access technology, says the CTO, as Colt is using copper-bonding technology from Actelis Networks Inc. to deliver flexible bandwidth Ethernet services to customers. (See COLT Deploys Actelis.)
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading