Catena aids Ontario ISP in broadband deployment

After five years and more than 1,500 deployments of its integrated broadband systems south of the border, Kanata, Ont.’s Catena Networks Inc. this week announced one in Canada.

Richmond Hill, Ont.-based FCI Broadband will use Catena’s CN1000 broadband loop carrier to deliver voice and high-speed Internet service. It marks the first announcement of a Canadian client since Catena was founded in 1998. The first unit has already been deployed in a subdivision FCI is serving in Brampton, Ont., with a second slated for deployment there Thursday and two more to come in the near future.

Catena president and CEO Jim Hjartarson offered serveral reasons why his company has had “”more success in the U.S. than just down road.”” For starters, he said, Catena is somewhat of a dual-nationality company. It is incorporated in the United States, though it does all its research and development in Canada, has a Canadian CEO and issues its press releases from an Ottawa suburb.

Further, Catena’s first product, the CNX-5, was designed to upgrade a Lucent Technologies Inc. system that is much more prevalent in the U.S. than in Canada. As well, he said, while regional Bell operating companies and independent operating companies alike have deployed Catena solutions stateside, in Canada “”there may be a little bit of a reluctance to do business with a small company.””

FCI, which weathered the competitive local exchange carrier fallout when it was known as Futureway Communications Inc. (FCI is currently a division of Futureway) has not shown such reservations.

“”We found their product to be very competitive price-wise and the technical expertise we’ve been impressed with,”” said Jay Gowans chief engineer with FCI, who added FCI chose Catena over two other suppliers.

Hjartarson said the CN1000, designed for new residential developments and overbuild situations requiring additional lines, is a “”perfect fit”” for FCI, because it provides telephone and asynchronous digital subscriber line (ADSL) service on every line, allowing for reconfigurations of services remotely, as orders are received.

“”They can adapt to growing demand for broadband in the future without in any way touching the equipment,”” Hjartarson said.

FCI is also doing trials with Catena for transmitting video as well as voice and high-speed Internet service. FCI already delivers such services but not with Catena products.

Hjartarson sees increasing use of ADSL to transmit video as carriers look for new revenue sources from their ADSL rollouts.

“”The (Catena) platform has been developed from Day 1 to be a video delivery platform,”” he said, adding that Catena’s channel surfing experience does not slow down as new users come online. “”It’s invariable whether it’s two or 200 users.””

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