Alpheus Communications broadens its Texas Ethernet reach

Dallas -- Alpheus Communications, a regional CLEC targeting businesses and service providers in the Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston (DASH) area, on Monday extended the reach of its Ethernet service into the Rio Grande Valley.

Customers in the Rio Grande region of Texas will now be able to get access to the same fiber-based and Ethernet over Copper (EoC) solutions in the DASH markets, including private-line services, dedicated Internet access (DIA), data center connectivity. 

Alpheus is taking a multi-pronged approach to Ethernet that includes both fiber in places where it can economically deliver build out fiber and EoC.

While the CLEC's customers in this region will be subject to the same installation intervals and products, the expansion will resonate with the its multisite customers that want to work with just one provider.

Offering customers the same service installation intervals and products, the new initiative will provide Alpheus' business and wholesale customers a deeper reach into South Texas.

A major focus of this latest network expansion effort is to productize EoC, said Scott Widham, CEO of Alpheus. Already available in 123 central offices (COs), Widham said it will enable EoC in more COs in the South Texas region.

"We're putting in Overture's EoC gear into area AT&T (NYSE: T) COs so we now have enabled another 10,000 buildings with Ethernet service," Widham said, adding that they have up to 94,000 buildings qualified to get Ethernet.

In addition, Alpheus plans to bring EoC into other markets in Texas it does not reach yet, including Beaumont, Victoria, Bryant College Station, and Waco.

Alpheus is also addressing Mexican competitive service providers, known as concessionaires, that need an alternative cross-border interconnection point for their business clients.

"There are six concessionaires of various sizes, and we do about 10 percent of our business in Mexico," said Widham. "They are very agile and move very quickly so we have interconnections with those carriers, and as they look to get connections into places like Dallas they can use us."

Widham added that a number of the larger Mexican competitive carriers will then purchase IP services from MegaPath or others, but now they can establish peering points in Dallas that will allow them to peer directly with Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), which "means they can buy less access so it saves them money."

On the fiber side, Alpheus is being no less aggressive. The CLEC is on target to connect another 100 buildings in Dallas and Houston to its fiber.

"We're aggressively building out in these buildings and negotiating the riser rights and laterals," Widham said.

Besides expanding services for its business customer base, the new expansion is also being used to address more wholesale carrier customer opportunities. The CLEC plans to expand its off-net presence in the region by establishing new Network-to-Network Interface (NNI) agreements with existing and potentially new service provider customers.

"We have a number of NNIs with big carriers and then we get their pricing tools so whether it's the SONET product or the Ethernet product everything happens very, very quickly in terms of service delivery associated with that solution," Widham said. "We have an access toolkit where we're going to start doing some fixed wireless stuff. If you want fiber, copper or wireless we're going to bring it to your location."

Complementing the broadening of its Ethernet reach, Alpheus plans to embark on three new areas: managed services (i.e., VPN, firewalls and managed security), specialty products for the health care and retail chain verticals, and managed hosting services out of its data centers in select markets.

"In terms of additional product development, we're really looking at going up the telecom stack, and we're looking at managed security services, and then we'll get specific in our verticals offering HIPAA compliance services for the healthcare industry and offering PCI security services for credit card transactions," Widham said.

Widham said that "the next step is to get into managed hosting out of our four data centers, but we're trying to figure out where the sweet spot is because there's so much out in the market that's free."

And while Widham isn't opposed to expanding outside of Texas, in the near-term he's satisfied with the growth he currently is seeing there.

"When I first got into the company, I thought our growth would be by expanding into Louisiana and going into Oklahoma, but there's so much growth in Houston, and Dallas and the DASH markets that we can just play in our backyard and grow significantly," he said. "It's easier to operate in your back yard than far afield to support services that are a thousand miles away."

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