Matrix Telecom Assembles CLEC Co-op

Matrix Telecom debuted a new wholesale service called Network Matrix, which is designed to give CLECs the ability to offer customers seamless nationwide service.

Network Matrix is a kind of CLEC cooperative, explains Rick Nagel, director of wholesale for Network Matrix. Matrix will serve as a gateway to several independent networks across the country, he says. Aggregated in total, everybody that participates in the program has access to everybody elses markets.

Network Matrix will include a core group of initial network providers forming the national footprint. Nagel says two unnamed CLECs already have signed reciprocal agreements. He expects up to 10 providers will be needed to reach the goal of a diverse network serving the nations top 50 to 60 metro areas.

What we contemplate though is making sure that we have options, and that we can touch about every LATA in some way or another without the need to use Bell facilities, says Nagel.

Dennis Smith, president of Matrix Telecom, boils the value proposition down to one question: Why give it to the RBOC? I would much rather see a competing CLEC get the business even if my margins are minimal than to turn it over to the incumbent, he says.

Nagel concedes there is an emotional component now that CLECs are struggling to compete with the Bell companies and seem unable to attract capital to fund buildouts.

I dont think we will win any awards for being visionary, says Nagel, but what we can do is help bridge gaps and be a gateway at a time when all the CLECs are coming to the realization that working together they are going to get a whole lot more traction than certainly they have been working [against] each other.

Although reciprocal agreements are common among long-distance and wireless operators, they have not previously been forged in the CLEC community.

While part of Network Matrix will be facilitating such contractual arrangements, a second piece will be facilitating the back-office communication.

Certainly, theres no standardization across any of the CLECs with respect to their OSS, their ordering systems, trouble-ticket systems, customer-care information, says Nagel, explaining that Matrix will handle back-office information handoffs so CLECs dont have to worry about taking inputs and driving outputs to 50 different partners. Thats Matrixs problem. Its a two-layered value proposition here.

Network Matrix has about 10 people on staff, Nagel says, adding that most of the communications will be handled electronically. Matrix Telecom takes its fee by marking up the services that are provided to the partners.

In addition to reciprocal network partners, Network Matrix will be available for resale by other CLECs that might be too small to be a reciprocal partner.

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