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Next-Gen IP: A Services Opportunity

Dave Raffo
News Analysis
Dave Raffo
1/27/2006

NEW YORK -- If carriers can solve the challenges they face in moving to IP-based voice and data solutions, they might find some unexpected business opportunities, according to Jeff Blackey, senior vice president of business development at US LEC Corp. (Nasdaq: CLEC).

“IP networks open the door on a whole range of other services,” said Blackey last night, here at the Globalcomm 2006 Master Class Series, hosted by Light Reading and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) . He pointed to US LEC’s addition of data backup, storage, and security to its high-bandwidth MPLS VPN Internet service.

US LEC, based in Charlotte, N.C., grew its customer base by 17 percent in 2005 when it beefed up IP products and services, said Blackey. He expects the company will get another boost from the recent addition of the "Mobility Pak" for their VOIP service, Dynamic T, which lets users always present their office caller ID regardless of where they are calling from.

"The last thing you want is a worker calling from home sounding like he’s calling from home."

Blackey says US LEC has also been finding a lot of interest in storage and backup services. For example, there has been interest among hurricane-wary customers in Florida. Last May, it added one real estate firm in New Orleans. "The customer bought the service one week before Katrina hit. He went up to Georgia and we restored his data. Unfortunately, we couldn’t protect homes and other assets, but we protected the network.”

Converged networks mean that carriers have to rethink their strategies and do a better job of prioritizing allocation of their bandwidth, said Blackey. For instance, he said, US LEC allocates bandwidth based on traffic type. This comes in handy if you are supporting a VOIP service, as US LEC does with its Dynamic T VOIP service.

“A hotel’s priority would be for more voice during the day and more Internet access at night. So you have to allocate voice at one time a day, and more data bandwidth at night. People don’t want any delay from their voice call but don’t need that much bandwidth. With data storage you’ll use up a lot of bandwidth, but delay doesn’t matter.”

One member in the audience got some extra enjoyment out of the session. Matt Piekarczyk, a Network Engineer for the U.S. Army, won one of the Sirius Satellite radios that's raffled off at every session.

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

The next Master Class session, "Demystifying the Complexities Inherent in IP Convergence," will be presented on Tuesday, Feb. 7, by Bud Basu, VP Product Management, Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GLBC). It will take place at the Westin Times square in New York City.

For registration information go here.

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