Sprint has set an ambitious Ethernet expansion strategy, one that will bolster its reach and ability to serve a broader mix of low- and high-speed service classes that can't be reached with traditional TDM circuits.
Having established multiple external-network to network interconnections (E-NNI) in its footprint, Sprint is confident of providing Ethernet access services to more than 96% of their U.S. customers' locations by the first quarter of 2017.
Don Briscoe, manager of network solutions product and marketing for Sprint, said upon completing its latest expansion, the service provider will expand its Ethernet footprint by 26%.
“We expanded our Ethernet family of services to include Ethernet over Copper and Ethernet over DOCSIS so we greatly expanded our availability to customers,” Briscoe said. “We’ll be at 96% by the end of the first quarter, up from 70% at the end of 2015, so we dramatically improved our coverage.”
As part of the Ethernet service expansion, Sprint has increased the amount of IP MPLS nodes it operates in 2016 and 2017.
“What’s driving the expansion is customers looking at cloud applications and the increase in bandwidth is increasing dramatically, but the budget for customers has not increased,” Briscoe said. “Customers are looking at more cost efficient ways and Ethernet is that solution.”
Specifically, Sprint’s EoC and EoDOCSIS services can appeal to business customers that need lower symmetrical speeds from 2 Mbps to 10 Mbps.
Expanding the range of speeds is only one part of its offering. Sprint also will perform professional installation, while offering Business Class Service Level Agreements (SLAs), 24x7x365 monitoring and support, multiple classes of service, and access to the Sprint Compass Management Tool.
“What Ethernet over Copper and DOCSIS provides is economic solutions at the low bandwidth, specifically 2-10 Mbps,” Briscoe said. “In the legacy TDM world, you would go from a T-1 to 2 x T1, you’re doubling your cost, so clearly there are economies of scale from an Ethernet perspective that you don’t see in the TDM world.”
Outside of the United States, Briscoe said that Sprint is a bit further ahead in Europe and other markets with Ethernet.
“The international markets are a bit ahead of the U.S. as it relates to Ethernet and TDM,” Briscoe said. “A majority of sites internationally are already Ethernet and Sprint wants to drive the U.S. to match what it’s like internationally.”