Taqua Cuts in on Santera at 1stel
Cleburne, Texas-based 1stel confirmed this week that it sent back a next-generation Class 5 switch to Santera Systems Inc. after replacing it with another switch from competitor Taqua Systems Inc. (see 1stel Deploys Taqua OCX).
"We did deploy a SanteraOne, and we have returned it to them," says Douglas Bowyer, president of 1stel. He declined to comment further on the Santera box, citing a non-disclosure agreement.
Privately funded 1stel is a competitive local exchange carrier that offers bundled voice and data services to small businesses in North Texas. The company won't say how many customers it has, but says it has more than 1,000 voice lines in service.
In November 2001, Santera announced that 1stel had installed its SanteraOne switch to handle Primary Rate Interface (PRI) offload and Class 5 traffic switching needs. Now the carrier has done an about-face and picked Santera's crosstown rival Taqua for the same applications, even after having turned Taqua down early in 2001. Financing and purchasing details regarding the product switcheroo were not available.
Bowyer says the reason is that his company's needs changed, and now it needs a box that it can collocate with SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) facilities to provide backhaul traffic to the digital crossconnects in 1stel's network operations center.
Elsewhere in 1stel's network, Bowyer says he has digital loop carriers from Advanced Fibre Communications Inc. (AFC) (Nasdaq: AFCI) and Vina Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: VINA) that are connected by next-gen Sonet transport platforms purchased from Metro-Optix Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Metro-Optix Announces Customers.)
The fondness for using gear from local startups comes because such companies have to prove themselves -- even to a carrier the size of 1stel, Bowyer says. "They have to work harder than the Nortels and Lucents. The service and attention you get is amazing."
Officials at Santera did not return calls seeking comment.
— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading