Covad Expands Ethernet Nationally

COMPTEL PLUS — Pushing forward in its effort to become a single-point provider of integrated voice and data access, Covad Communications Group today said it will launch nationwide Ethernet service in mid-April. The service will comprise Ethernet-over-copper service primarily in the Los Angeles market, an expansion of the company’s Ethernet-over-DS1 product, as well as the launch of a nationwide Ethernet-based MPLS/VPN service.

Available to both Covad’s wholesale carrier customers and its enterprise customers, the new Ethernet services are designed “to run business-class, real-time applications like Voice over IP, video, gaming, VPNs and video conferencing through multiple traffic-handling options,” the company said in a statement.

Increasing demand for Ethernet-based services is fueled by customers’ desire for three elements, said Covad CTO Aamir Hussain: cheaper bandwidth, appropriate service-level agreements, and end-to-end managed services.

Among enterprise customers, Hussain added, “The old workforce is being replaced with a newer workforce that is more IT-related — they don’t know and don’t understand the old private-line business, and they want Ethernet because it’s easier to manage.”

The new Ethernet services will offer speeds from 1.5 Mbps to 35 Mbps, with the ability to reach about 10 million businesses nationwide.

Earlier this month, at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Covad said it would enhance its Integrated Access service, adding options for more phone lines and higher-speed T1 Internet connections up to 6.0 Mbps. Those moves will expand the service’s target market to include businesses of up to 500 employees.

Up until recently, Covad was perceived as “a DSL company,” Hussain said. “We’ve overcome that over the last couple of years — we’ve done a lot of work on our network to provide carrier-class services. We’re now a one-stop shop.”

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