MegaPath on Wednesday debuted a new product to extend its Ethernet footprint in areas where Ethernet over Copper (EoC) is not available.
For this service set, MegaPath is delivering Ethernet over DS1 (EoDS1) because it is not subject to the same distance limitations seen with EoC.
Expanding its Ethernet reach over traditional DS1 circuits directly complements MegaPath's broad EoC network, which it said reaches almost a million businesses in 25 major markets, including Phoenix, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Phoenix, in particular, has been a boom market for MegaPath as it has tripled the amount of businesses it reached with Ethernet.
Having the extended Ethernet offering will appeal to a greater set of customers that have multiple sites that need Ethernet connectivity and can't be served by EoC or a fiber-based connection.
Pasha Mohammed, Vice President, Product Management, Network Services at MegaPath, told FierceTelecom in an interview that while the CLEC is seeing good uptake from its Ethernet over Copper service, distance limitations are a factor so the EoDS1 product will bridge part of that gap.
"While EoC is very cost effective it is plagued by distance limitations, meaning it can only go up to certain distance from the Central Office and that distance vary by speeds," he said. "When customers come and ask us what alternative Ethernet services do we have that's where the whole EoDS1 product comes into play."
The service will be eventually to customers as long as they are connected to any of the 693 COs where they currently offer EoC services. Of course, like EoC, the tradeoff is that while EoDS1 does not distance limitations, it is limited in terms of bandwidth.
Mohammed said they will launch the EoDS1 product in phases. In the initial phase, they launched 128 COs covering 25 markets, including launching more COs next month.
But MegaPath is not reinventing the wheel with the EoDS1 product as it will leverage its existing EoC platform from ADTRAN (Nasdaq: ADTN) and the same bonding method it used to deliver EoC.
"We will be supporting speeds from 1.5 symmetrical to 12.0 Mbps symmetrical and using up to eight DS1 loops and we'll be bonding them the same way we have bonded them on the Ethernet over Copper side with Ethernet in the First Mile technology," Mohammed said.
Mohammed said that they have to also look at other technologies to get more out of existing copper and other options like the TDM-based Ethernet options and even fiber.
"With copper whatever speeds that are possible within the distance limitations we have there are some innovations we can make on that in terms of distance," Mohammed said. "We are, in my opinion reaching the area where the higher speeds and different technologies like Ethernet over Fiber, for example, need to merge now to provide ubiquitous Ethernet availability for our customers."
In fact, the EoDS1 product is part of a broader set of services that MegaPath plans to offer in 2013 with eventual plans to also offer EoDS3 and an EoFiber product.
"With EoDS3, the goal is to again is to augment on top of what we have and bring higher speed distance unlimited services," Mohammed said.
Expanding the reach of its Ethernet footprint comes at a time when the CLEC's direct competitors in the EoC and overall Ethernet market continue up the ante in terms of speed and reach. Just this week, Integra Telecom and XO Communications announced initiatives to expand their speeds to 60 Mbps and 100 Mbps, respectively, along with the reach of their network footprints.
MegaPath recently completed its 2012 Ethernet over Copper expansion project, and the CLEC acknowledged that it needs to continue innovating on the Ethernet product path to stay apace with competition.
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