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Caerus Tenders Free Softswitch Offer for Resellers

Posted: 10/2003

Caerus Tenders Free Softswitch Offer for Resellers

By Khali Henderson

Caerus Inc., the third venture for softswitch pioneer Shawn
Lewis, announced in August it will provide the new CONX softswitch developed by
subsidiary Caerus Networks Inc. at no cost to qualified service providers. In
turn, service providers must purchase voice transport, high-speed data and
enhanced calling services at market rates from Caerus IP backbone network
subsidiary Volo Communications Inc.

The model has been in beta testing since July and will be
commercially available this fall.

We began looking at the telecommunications industry two
years ago to try to understand why advance services were not moving forward as
quickly as everyone had expected, says Lewis, Caerus president and CEO. The
major obstacles that we found were capital expenditure costs, which were
presenting formidable barriers to entry for service providers, traditional
carriers and resellers wanting to deploy advanced services. Another problem we
encountered was the lack of open platforms in the marketplace and the need to
invest a large amount of time and money integrating products from different
vendors.

Caerus free softswitch offering seeks to address these
problem, says Lewis, who wrote the patent for the first SS7 media gateway and
the first softswitch, which he developed for XCOM Technologies Inc., a CLEC he
co-founded and ran before its acquisition by Level 3 Communications Inc. in
1998.

Under the offer, Caerus provides carriers with its CONX, or
Connection-X, softswitch. Carriers receive a virtual point code assignment
designated for their switch and pay as they go at market rates for transport and
enhanced services on Volo Communications nationwide MPLS-based IP backbone
network that today reaches 22 U.S. cities.

There is no mark-up, says Lewis. We charge market
rates or below in many cases, and build our margins into that. We expect to
carry very large volumes of traffic. The company projected that by September
it would pass 1 billion minutes a month across its network.

In August, Lewis reported Caerus had four companies in beta
tests, and was set to expand to about a dozen companies before the beta tests
concluded in September.

The CONX softswitch is an open transaction-processing engine
that interworks with about 200 protocols (and possibly more with the available
software development kit), including all the popular ones on the market today,
in a one port-any service model. It also can be used to process non-telecom-related
transactions such as alarm monitoring. The softswitch comes with its own
service-creation environment so customers can develop their own services if they
choose or they can use the enhanced services that Volo Communications offers.
Customers can host the softswitch on their network or on Volos network.

The CONX softswitch will be commercially available within a
few months, adds Lewis. It now is available only under the free program, which
is open to Tier 1 and Tier 2 service providers, including CLECs and IXCs, RBOCs,
cable companies and enhanced services providers.

A similar offer is available to end users using Caerus
Networks iPBX.

Links
Caerus Inc. www.caerus.com
Caerus Networks Inc. www.caerusnetworks.com
Level 3 Communications Inc. www.level3.com
Volo Communications Inc. www.volocommunications.com


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