AT&T sees growing demand for Flexware/Ethernet bundle from education, businesses

Ethernet IP
School districts continue to see value in using a combination of Flexware and Ethernet services to connect their locations.

As AT&T expands the availability of its FlexWare platform, the service provider is finding the education and small to medium business (SMB) sectors are combining it with Ethernet services.

Roman Pacewicz, SVP of offer management and service integration for AT&T Business, said the Ethernet/Flexware combination is resonating with these sectors.

“Switched Ethernet is turning out to be a very popular pair in the market,” Pacewicz said. “Layer-2 switched Ethernet, especially for the education sector and hospital sector tied in with a Flexware device on the edge, is resonating.”

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Flexware offers the benefits of NFV with a broader array of connection types that either AT&T or its set of global service provider partners provide.

Network connectivity options include Ethernet, VPN (MPLS), dedicated internet as well as broadband, allowing FlexWare to integrate with any network in any global location.

E-Rate rising

School districts continue to see value in using a combination of Flexware and Ethernet services to connect their locations from AT&T.

What has helped AT&T penetrate more school districts with this combination is its participation in the FCC’s E-rate program.

While AT&T could not share any specific customers, the service provider said one of its school district customers in the South is currently using the Ethernet/Flexware bundle.

“We sold a lot with E-Rate,” Pacewicz said. “As an example, we have a large school district in the Southern part of the country that’s implementing a network of over 100 school locations that we’re attaching Flexware on top so it becomes the edge networking engine for Layer-2 VPN.”

Going down market

Besides penetrating the education market with switched Ethernet and Flexware, the service provider is also looking for more opportunities with smaller and medium-sized businesses.

The service provider is increasingly selling the SMB segment a mix of switched Ethernet as well as VPN, dedicated internet access (DIA) services and MPLS services.

“We’ve seen quite a bit of interest in not only switched Ethernet, but also VPN and our dedicated internet product,” Pacewicz said. “Further down market, we’re seeing a lot of interest in those products.”

MPLS is also becoming a bigger factor.

Pacewicz said that AT&T is selling more MPLS solutions from its service provider partners.

“We have also sold deals with third party transport, meaning not AT&T’s MPLS solution, but someone else’s MPLS service,” Pacewicz said. “There’s quite a variety in how this product is being used.”

Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group, told FierceTelecom in a previous interview that it makes sense for AT&T to penetrate the SMB market, particularly as it has gained market share with large customers that are migrating from legacy Frame Relay and ATM to Ethernet.  

“They are delivering Ethernet in their traditional markets where they sell TV and going down market quite a bit now that they have had some saturation of their large business base,” Malone said.