Bruce Telecom consolidates edge routers to prep for IPTV

Ontario regional service provider Bruce Telecom will be providing advanced services such as IPTV for its 18,000 subscribers through an edge router from Redback.

An independent telephone company since 1910, Bruce Telecom started up an Internet division in 1995 and today has some 18,000 accounts, half of which use high-speed DSL.

Previously the service provider was using six Redback routers and one Copper Mountain router, which it had problems with. “Our technicians had the experience with Redback and it was time to consolidate into an edge product,” said Don Merritt, vice-president of operations with Bruce Telecom. Redback’s SmartEdge router, an integrated router that manages and delivers voice, video and Internet traffic from one location, will give the service provider “triple-play” capabilities to roll out advanced services like bandwidth-on-demand and IPTV.

Redback provides broadband services to service providers that deliver advanced services to consumers and businesses. An edge router literally sits on the edge of a service provider’s network and is the first point of contact that a consumer or business has with IP-enabled equipment. “It’s the point where the intelligence really sits,” said John Spiliotis, vice-president of sales and operations for the Americas with Redback, which was recently acquired by Ericsson for its triple-play expertise.

Phone companies are getting a significant amount of competition from other broadband service providers, such as cable companies, and they’re losing their local access revenues by five to six per cent per year, he said. As a result, they’re turning to advanced services such as VoIP, IPTV, business VPNs and high-speed music and video delivery.

Bruce Telecom worked with solution provider Solunet to customize the service with bandwidth-on-demand and security. Currently the service provider offers services in a range of speeds, and many of its customers subscribe to a DSL Lite service that’s not as fast as true high-speed. “We foresee in the future with video-on-demand type services, customers are going to want higher bandwidth but they’re not going to want to pay for a month’s worth of bandwidth just to download one movie,” said Wayne Eichenberger, senior technician with Bruce Telecom. With bandwidth-on-demand, customers will be able to log onto the service provider’s customer Web page and select a higher rate of service for a specific period of time.

It will also be offering attack mitigation, where it can proactively prevent infected computers from adversely affecting its network or other people’s networks.

“These processes could not be automated to the level they will be automated in the future,” said Eichenberger. “Up until now it’s been a completely manual process.”

While no timetable has been put in place, he expects these services to start rolling out in the next six months.

“We are enabling these service providers on the edge to upgrade their networks to deliver these advanced services,” said Spiliotis. Right now, many service providers have multiple boxes in their network, which is costly to manage. One way to reduce those costs is to replace multiple boxes with an integrated architecture that includes voice, video and data services in one box – what it refers to as triple play.

This is already an established practice in the Asia Pacific, where service providers now offer IPTV to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. In China, for example, its 32 provinces have no copper infrastructure in place, so triple play is an ideal fit. The triple-play trend is just now hitting North America, said Spiliotis, but we’re lagging behind the rest of the world because of our huge base of legacy equipment.

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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