Here comes Reliance Globalcom

Reliance Globalcom announced today that it is working with Juniper Networks to upgrade its Metro Ethernet networks in the U.S., pushing multiprotocol label switching and virtual private LAN service to its network edge. That means Reliance is the latest major carrier to favor these technologies over provider backbone transport (also called provider backbone bridging-traffic engineering).

Keao Caindec, chief marketing officer of Reliance Globalcom, told FierceTelecom, "We're acting to support demand for Ethernet. We're deploying the Juniper M120 [Multiservice Edge Routers, as well as Juniper MX Series Ethernet Service Routers] to connect our metros. We can support 10 Gigabit Ethernet and scale incrementally to 40 gig. We're also pushing VPLS to the edge."

While that may be another blow to the fortunes of PBT enthusiasts, the broader relevance of this announcement has to do with the emergence of Reliance Globalcom in the U.S. and the rest of the world. Within the last year, India's Reliance Communications acquired U.S. Ethernet carrier Yipes Enterprise Services and managed service firm Vanco Group. It put these businesses together with FLAG Telecom, the company's undersea cable unit, to form the new Reliance Globalcom division. Reliance Communications was in the news most recently for the sibling rivalry that doomed the company's effort to merge with South Africa's MTN, but Reliance Globalcom may be on the verge of gaining its own identity apart from that chaos.

Reliance now has the largest privately-owned undersea cable system in the world at a time when that market is booming and seeing the arrival of new competitive consortia. The company now serves over 1,200 enterprise customers, 200 carrier customerss and 1.5 million retail customers in 50 countries across 5 continents. Caindec said the company is currently in the midst of a $1.7 billion network investment program, and added that one of Reliance's main strengths is that it does not have a legacy network around to complicate its network and service decisions. If Reliance Globalcom is not on the radar on U.S. carriers yet, it should be.