Startup carrier will let customers set up and tear down connections from their own consoles, in a matter of minutes

March 17, 2000

2 Min Read
Storm To Roll Out Switched Wave Service Across Europe

Bandwidth on demand is finally coming to international telecoms, judging by two announcements made by a UK startup carrier, Storm Telecommunications Ltd. today.

In the first announcement, Storm said it was buying an extensive European dark fiber network from Telia AB, the Swedish incumbent carrier, for more than $100 million. In the second announcement, Storm said it had placed an order for optical switches worth $40 million with Sycamore Networks

Storm plans to use the fiber and switches to build a new type of cross-border backbone in Europe - one that will enable customers to set up and tear down very high bandwidth connections between different locations as and when they need them.

That's a big change from current practice, where buying high bandwidths - ones carried by a dedicated wavelength - is a laborious process. Setting up connections can take months, and customers often have to agree to contract durations of several years.

With Storm's new network, customers (other carriers and big corporates) will be able to provision circuits within minutes, using their own consoles. They'll also be able to drop them when they don't need them, or shift connections to different locations. "Our whole business concept is based on moving pipes faster and faster, until it's as fast as setting up a telephone call," says Desh Deshpandi, Sycamore's chairman.

Avoiding the use of SDH (synchronous digital hierarchy) equipment will result big savings, according to Mark Stewart, Storm's business development director. "Our utilization and efficiency will be much higher than other carriers, and that'll be passed on to customers," he says.

Users will pay a fixed monthly rate for connecting sites to the network and then a usage rate based on bandwidth and connect time, according to Stewart. However, Storm hasn't finalized its rates, so it isn't possible to quantify the likely savings.

Stewart expects to offer first services by the end of May - rapid progress considering that the company has only just got started after a management buy-out in February. Prior to that, Storm operated as a switch-based reseller of wholesale telephony services.

-- by Peter Heywood, international editor, Light Reading

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