AT&T Canada activates next phase of broadband fibre net

AT&T Canada moved closer to its goal of operating a national broadband fibre network with the announced activation of the largest segment of the network to date.

A network segment stretching 4,475 kilometres from Toronto to Vancouver, through Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary, will carry digitized voice, data and Internet traffic. AT&T Canada already has a 311-kilometre segment of 10Gbps fibre-optic network activated between Vancouver and Seattle.

The company plans to build out an additional 4,100 kilometres of network by the end of the year. Further segments will be rolled out in the coming months to complete the company’s national voice and data communications network, interconnecting key Canadian markets and AT&T Canada’s competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) networks.

AT&T Canada’s network backbone uses Nortel Networks’s Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology enabling up to 32 wavelengths of OC-192 bandwidth, or 320Gbps of capacity, equivalent to more than four million simultaneous voice conversations occurring over a single pair of fibre strands, according to AT&T Canada.

The national and cross-border intercity broadband network was begun last fall by MetroNet Communications prior to AT&T Canada’s acquisition of the CLEC, which was finalized in June.

“The activation of this network is another giant step in securing our vision,” said Jim Meenan, AT&T Canada’s vice-chairman and CEO, in a company statement. “We are truly the ‘any distance’ competitive provider for businesses across Canada, with ultra high-capacity and extremely reliable fibre-optic long-haul and local networks.”

AT&T Canada officials said they expect migration of traffic onto the new network will allow the company to cut costs by reducing usage of leased routes. In addition, AT&T Canada will be able to use host-remote switching technologies to economically provide facilities-based local services in additional markets, officials said.

More information on AT&T Canada’s planned national broadband fibre network can be found at