Sprint Canada climbs to top of SDSL mountain

Sprint Canada Inc. will offer SDSL service to Canadian business customers as a result of an agreement announced Monday with American broadband provider Copper Mountain Networks Inc.

The SDSL service is currently available in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, and will roll out to other centres next year, according to Christine Logan, senior portfolio manager for Internet and access services at Sprint Canada.

“It’s really a business grade service,” she said. “It’s more appropriate (than ADSL) for things like hosting a mail or Web server, or just more interactions between customers and suppliers.”

The Copper Mountain technology is CE200, Layer 3 DSLAM (digital subscriber line access multiplexer), explained Peter Lamy, Canadian sales manager for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company. “DSLAM is a large box that aggregates all the individual DSL lines . . . and combines that traffic into one larger data pipe going out the back end for Internet access.”

It’s an IP-based technology, not packet-based like ATM, he said. That could mean more value-added services for business subscribers. There are no extras beyond Internet access at this point, said Logan, but services are in development.

Subscribers can expect five levels of speed, based on their preference and proximity to the centres of operation – 160 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps – and there are fewer fluctuations in service than ADSL, Logan added. No specifics were given on pricing, though it will be a “premium-priced” DSL service “because we do think it’s more appropriate for businesses.”

This is Copper Mountain’s first agreement with a Canadian telco, though the company has worked with multi-dwelling and multi-tenant units in Canada. The arrangement with Sprint Canada has roots in a Call-Net Enterprises Inc. venture with Northpoint Communications. Call-Net is Sprint’s parent company and Northpoint uses Copper Mountain for DSL technology. Sprint Canada bought out Northpoint’s Canadian assets earlier this year.

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