I note that three carriers have launched a wholesale IPVPN proposition. BT, Cable and Wireless and Opal have all opened up for business into the reseller channel. This really does reflect the growing opportunity in this space brought on by lower cost IP connectivity and greater use of internet/cloud based services.
Timico has been offering such MPLS based services for almost five years. We call them Private Wide Area Networks (PWANs). This year the number of Ethernet leased lines we will have installed for customers looks like being 50% as many as we did in the first five years and next year the way things are going I expect the estate to double.
When we started to offer PWANs in the market there were very few ISPs doing it. This was partly because the vast majority of ISPs had low bandwidth 34Mbps central pipes that did not support L2TP, a practical necessity for the provision of MPLS PWANs. Many still don’t have the technical knowhow even if they have the right connectivity and it is quite common for small ISPs to resell another’s IPVPN and claim it as their own.
This announcement from these 3 carriers effectively creates a dividing line between the haves and the have nots. Those who can build their own networks and those that just resell others’. None of these “builders” has the reach to provide a network that is exclusively their own. They all buy tails from BT Openreach for the many locations in the UK outside their own network footprints.
Our own approach is not to offer wholesale connectivity. We want to build up the Timico brand in the business end user community. We do operate our own MPLS network though and I see this as being of strategic importance in building the successful Communications Service Provider for the business market of the future.