FierceTelecom: So data center connectivity is a big target for Orange's Ethernet offerings?
Kruse: Vertical Systems Group recently released their Ethernet exchange report. The Ethernet exchange allows us to go into one place from lots of players in one physical location. I think it will be interesting to see how that evolves as well to connect to these data centers. With cloud computing there's a lot of emphasis on hosted data center space available and a lot of people in that market so if they hook up to those Ethernet exchanges, we might be able to see more rapid connectivity to third-party data centers.
FierceTelecom: Given Orange's reach, you do engage in a number of interconnection arrangements. What process does Orange take with interconnection arrangements to expand their Ethernet reach?
Kruse: Our Ethernet capabilities now are in about 42 countries where we have interconnections with various Ethernet providers. We're using the different local loops of all of these providers and I think of those 42 countries, I think they ride over 100 carrier interconnections. In the U.S., we have a lot. For instance, we interconnect with AT&T, Fiberlink, Verizon, XO, and Level 3. Even Covad is doing interesting things with bundling some T1s to make Ethernet capable connectivity in the local loop by buying unbundled local T1s and bundling them back together and making them into higher speed Ethernet.
We've interconnected with a lot of players. Because we got into the market early, we have been able to connect a lot of people without the benefit of the Ethernet exchange. One of our challenges as we continue to move forward is, where can we find enough different Ethernet providers in a given country that exchange makes sense? That's definitely the case in the U.S. because there's a lot more companies who have fiber. It's much more asset based competition. In Europe, the European Union (EU) has this rule that everyone has to sell their unbundled local services to another provider; everyone has total full country coverage in Europe. In some ways in Europe, you can get full coverage and you don't have to sign up with so many different providers. There are like 50 Ethernet providers in the New York area alone. I think were the Ethernet exchange concept will work the best will be based on the specific market we're trying to reach.
FierceTelecom: Given the fact that Orange has multiple interconnection arrangements, do you see the Ethernet exchange as another tool to expand your Ethernet service presence?
Kruse: For us to get more coverage out to every business location, we need more coverage, and if the country says there's a lot of players we need to interconnect to then the Ethernet exchange makes a lot of sense. It's the number of providers you need to hook up. That's the driver. If I am going into Saudi Arabia, I only have one choice, so there's not much need to have an Ethernet exchange there, whereas in an open and very competitive market like the U.S. it is very critical.
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