Business News – General Bandwidth Prepares to Take On Voice Over All Broadband

Posted: 04/2000

Business News

General Bandwidth Prepares to Take On Voice Over All Broadband
Peter Lambert

LECs, cable operators and broadband wireless operators are poised to undercut the economics of local telephony access, and startup vendor General Bandwidth Inc. says it can supply a single gateway solution
for them.

Launched on Valentine’s Day by former NetSpeed Inc. executives–a DSL system maker acquired by Cisco Systems Inc.
( in March 1998–General Bandwidth
( unveiled its G6 packet telephony gateway with flow-through provisioning for
DSL, cable, wireless broadband, frame relay, ATM and IP access networks.

The company’s VoBroadband solution features interfaces to take packet voice from any of those networks across a region into a shared Class 5 circuit switch–an economic alternative to deploying multimillion-dollar Class 5s in every central office (CO) in a region.

Through a patent-pending Packetized Residential Lifeline component, the system supports network-powered POTS, which enables packet voice carriers to target residential lifeline, as well as multiline business users by assuring emergency 911
service in case of customer premises power outage.

With the ability to support all broadband packet access protocols and transmission media as well as lifeline POTS, General Bandwidth says it is targeting new broadband competitors and the regional Bell companies, which plan to use a range of DSL, cable and wireless networks for geographical expansion.

“The regional Bell companies have made commitments to extend beyond their traditional regions,” says Sean Parham, director of product marketing for General Bandwidth. “With this platform, they can share a Class 5 switch across a region serving DSL multiplexers, cable termination systems and wireless broadband access devices.”

Offering capacity of 8,000 calls per
42-inch rack, the G6 promises to support legacy network management and operational support systems, thereby opening the potential to make limited service self-provisioning capabilities available to customers via a secure web portal.

Industry analyst Current Analysis Inc.
( praises the G6 multi-protocol architecture, scale and lifeline service support. However, it warns that General Bandwidth will have to play catch-up with voice-over DSL gateways already in service and develop aggressive pricing to compete with Lucent Technologies Inc.
( and Nortel Networks Corp. (
in the incumbent carrier space.


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