Rhythms offers ISPs a hand with Virtual Reach

ISPs may have found an answer to their prayers with a new service from Rhythms Canada Inc.

The Toronto-based provider of business-grade high-speed DSL services recently launched Virtual Reach, a network solution for ISPs to penetrate new markets easily and cost-effectively, according to Rhythms.

Simply put, the company said Virtual Reach will allow ISPs to provide service in new local markets without the expense of setting up a physical presence or building infrastructure, by backhauling traffic over an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network between Rhythms DSL service areas.

According to Norbert Dawalibi, president and CEO of Rhythms Canada, if an ISP wants to deliver DSL they typically need to have a presence in the community or area they wish to service.

For example, (if an ISP) who is based in Montreal has a customer that has 20 locations in Montreal, five locations in Toronto and one in Vancouver, that [ISP] cannot service that customer,” Dawalibi said. “For him to do that he has to go and build an infrastructure in Toronto and Vancouver. That is very expensive and takes a lot of time.”

Dawalibi said that with Virtual Reach, Rhythms takes all the local connections in Toronto and Vancouver and makes them appear to the partner in Montreal as if they were local connections.

“The advantage to (the ISP) is that they don’t need to go and put the infrastructure in the locations where they need to provide local service. All they need is to provide the one connection of where their headquarters are and we will make those connections for them and backhaul all those remote locations (to) make them appear as if they were local,” he said.

Dawalibi said that Virtual Reach is operational now in Vancouver, Calgary, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal and service is planned in Edmonton in the first quarter of 2001.

“This is great for the partners because now they can test new markets and they can extend their services to businesses that have multiple offices without having to spend the money, without the risk,” Dawalibi said.

He said that with Virtual Reach, Rhythms can offer this service across the country. He said the telephone companies, being regional, cannot offer services like Virtual Reach because they do not have the infrastructure across the country.

Martin Fraser, vice-president of telecommunications for Toronto-based Star Data Systems Inc., a supplier of on-line real-time information systems to Canada’s investment community, said before Virtual Reach, Star Data had free frame relay and dedicated services connecting to its Montreal locations, and then distributed services from Montreal to its clients.

Fraser said Star Data has redundant data centres in Toronto and Markham, Ont. He said the company needed a way to connect its clients in Montreal to those two data centres.

“Rhythms’ solution with Virtual Reach was just the ticket. Virtual Reach allows us to bring those clients directly back, eliminating a point-of-failure on our network,” Fraser said. “It is totally invisible to me. I don’t know that those customers have a geographical difference from a Toronto customer. Virtual Reach allows me to manage those people as if they were right next door, which is very attractive to us.”

Dawalibi said “businesses like our partners realize that it is very critical to be able to provide complete solutions to those business users. They didn’t have a service to deliver before, whereas now with the service we deliver, they can provide solutions to those businesses that (may have) 20 or 30 locations.”

Rhythms is on the Web at www.rhythmscanada.com.