AT&T offers bandwidth-on-demand

A joint venture between AT&T Canada and Middlebury, Conn.-based General DataComm Industries Inc. (GDC) will provide Canadian businesses with a bandwidth-on-demand service for Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) networks.

According to Jordan Worth, an analyst with IDC Canada, “It’s become an increasingly viable secondary market for service providers to wholesale the excess capacity on these massive networks they’ve built. Until the point at which they’re actually able to fill the pipes themselves, it makes great sense for them to be generating revenue off lines that otherwise would be dormant.”

The new [wholesale] service integrates business voice and data traffic over a single network connection often resulting in significant cost savings for the customer, said Eric Fletcher, director of data services, AT&T Canada.

The bandwidth-on-demand service, which can run both voice and data, is the first to use AT&T Canada’s ATM service with Switched Virtual Circuits (SVCs), offering customers the ability to define the bandwidth, destination and duration of their communications sessions and determine their QoS level requirements on a per-call basis.

Geared towards vertical markets like health care, education and broadcast distribution, Fletcher added: “It’s going to open up some new applications for us, and for organizations that are doing data backups where they need a lot of bandwidth from point A to point B in a secure fashion but only for a short period of time. You don’t have to purchase and pay for that bandwidth when you’re not using it.”

The SVC capability in the network enables the converged service to be very cost-competitive, with rates based on a combination of four factors – class of service selected per call; Committed Information Rate requested by the user per call; time duration of the call; and time of day discounts – all completely controlled by the customer, said Fletcher.

The bandwidth-on-demand service is based on GDC APEX ATM technology, which offers QoS assurance with bandwidth management, resulting in reduced complexity and higher reliability for customers, according to GDC.

“We have a platform that enables them to do the voice/video/data integration at the customer premise location,” said John Hanton, director of marketing, Canada, GDC Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of General DataComm Industries Inc. “Currently, they’re launching the voice and data service, but the platform that’s going in there is also capable of plugging cards to accommodate video and video conferencing. They chose our stuff because it’s capable of working with the installed base of hardware that they might have out there, like Cisco routers for example. They liked the range of services that they could offer off of our platform.”

The new service will be an AT&T Canada offering with GDC working in the back end. According to Hanton, “We’ll work in concert with AT&T to make sure that the customer gets the equipment installed, working properly and maintained properly.” GDC will be in the position to provide customer dispatch, maintenance and troubleshooting through its national support organization, Vital Network Services. However the management of the customers’ networks will be handled by AT&T. “It’s a partnered service offering, a joint offering, where AT&T are doing bits and pieces of the puzzle and we’re doing different bits,” said Hanton.

According to Worth, this is “not a particularly sexy area, it’s very much the nuts the bolts of operating a telco. It’s an important underlying component for service providers to create better value and generate more revenue that ultimately flows back to the customer,” he said. “You probably never see exact rates, it’s one of those underlying business practices that helps keep rates where they are and allow AT&T to be more competitive in other areas. This is part of an ongoing evolution of the industry.”

The service has been deployed since January, and according to Fletcher is based on a customer model, with rates varying. For more information, visit GDC at

or AT&T Canada at