Pathway intros ADSL in Toronto and Montreal

ISP Pathway Communications, of Toronto, is expanding its service in Toronto and Montreal by offering high-speed Internet access to business consumers through ADSL(asymmetric digital subscriber line).

Pathway currently offers Internet service in the 416 and 905 area codes and is rolling out central offices in Toronto to provide ADSL. Pathway’s president, Ashok Kalle, said the company will have 14 central offices completed by the end of this month. Pathway will also expand its service to Montreal and introduce ADSL there in the New Year.

Jordan Worth, a telecommunications analyst with IDC Canada, suggested Pathway may be moving from a consumer-based ISP to one serving small- and medium-sized businesses, but in his view they remain “an access provider.”

“I think they’re very much just like an access provider with a little bit of value-added. They don’t really have a lot of capabilities,” Worth said.

Worth did point out that ADSL technology has its benefits. For example he said that ADSL allows for large capacities of data to be transmitted.

“ADSL is not for every business and ADSL would be used for companies that send a lot of data such as videoconferencing,” he said.

Ben Lucier, manager of project services with Pathway Communications, said the advantage of using ADSL for small- and medium-sized businesses is “you make small requests and get a lot back.”

With ADSL, customer requests for information to the ISP, called an upstream flow, are relatively slow, but information and data sent back from the ISP, a downstream flow, is received quickly. Lucier uses the analogy of going up a ski hill where the ascent takes some time, but when the skier comes down the descent is much more rapid.

However, ADSL is a distance-sensitive technology where the further a user is from the CO the more the quality of the circuit degrades.

Pathway, a subsidiary of OCI Communications, will make the necessary installation on the customer’s premise and rent copper loops from Optel Communications Corp, another subsidiary of OCI, which leases its unbundled copper from Bell Canada.

“The way it works is that our upstream provider, which is Optel, will actually lease an unbundled copper loop between the customer’s premises and the CO where they’re co-locating and that unbundled copper loop is then terminated in the customer’s house or his office,” Kalle explained.

An Ethernet cable is connected to an RJ45 connection in the wall of the customer’s premises and then connected to a Cisco router.

The cost of using Pathway’s ADSL will be $249 a month. The fee includes all installation of copper circuits at the customer’s location and in-office wiring. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) includes the installation and guaranteed bandwidth, verified by Optel and depending on the plan, of 1MB downstream and 272Kbps upstream and 5GB of traffic a month. As part of Pathway’s service, customers also receive a domain, e-mail addresses and software. For more information call (416) 214-6363 or visit