Bell targets firms with large bandwidth needs

Bell Canada recently rolled out its High Speed Metro Service, a managed, metropolitan wavelength offering, designed to appeal to large organizations requiring big bandwidth transfers within downtown Toronto or downtown Ottawa.

The wavelength technology itself, though, is unlikely to hold any special appeal for customers, said Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp., a Voorhees, N.J.-based telecom consultancy.

“Users don’t care if Tinkerbell carries the packets on tiny, silver wings,” he said. “The only thing they care about is price performance.”

Wavelength services could allow carriers to move large amounts of data more efficiently and users could benefit if the carriers pass some of the savings along to their customers, Nolle noted.

In the U.S. market, some regional Bell operating companies have found they can offer services such as Fibre Channel more cheaply by running the services over protocol-independent wavelengths than they can by installing Fibre Channel switching-specific gear in their existing networks, Nolle said.

“My guess is in the higher-density metro areas, where there are a lot of corporate locations, that this is a viable option,” he explained.

Bell’s High Speed Metro service is targeted at organizations in the banking, education, government, manufacturing and financial vertical markets with two or more sites in specific areas of downtown Toronto or Ottawa. The service is geared towards applications such as storage, videoconferencing, large file transfers and disaster recovery.

The carrier hopes to expand the service to other cities in the future, but whether Bell decides to grow High Speed Metro will depend on customer demand and if there’s a business case for deploying the technology, said Bell spokesperson Andrew Cole.

High Speed Metro is a fully managed service that supports a variety of protocols, including Gigabit Ethernet, Ficon, Escon and Fibre Channel at speeds ranging from 155Mbps to 2.56Gbps. Customers can choose from four configurations, ranging from a basic unprotected service to a protected option with redundant wavelengths terminating in separate central offices, where possible, and with redundant customer premise equipment.

Bell is offering High Speed Metro in partnership with Nortel Networks.

The service is available on three-year, or five-year contracts and comes with a network connectivity availability of 99.999 per cent.

Formal tariff rates for High Speed Metro start at $8,150 per month for an unprotected wavelength on a three-year contract, or $5,700 per month on a five-year deal. There is also a one-time service fee of $5,000. Customers who aren’t on existing Bell fibre routes will have to pay additional charges for any construction costs.

Although the actual wavelengths are dedicated to individual customers, Bell offers the service over a shared network architecture. Customers can ask for their own dedicated fibre facilities, but could end up paying more.

The service is available immediately in Toronto and Ottawa.

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