TWC’s new Ethernet service rolls into New York City

Thu, 10/23/2008 - 8:50am
Mike Robuck

Earlier this week, Time Warner Cable introduced its new “Business Class Ethernet” service to small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) in its New York City footprint.

The Ethernet service is offered by Time Warner Cable Business Class (TWCBC), which is a business unit of Time Warner Cable, and is delivered over traditional cable hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) through DOCSIS.

Ken Fitzpatrick

While the company does offer Carrier Ethernet to large, enterprise customers via carrier-class fiber optics, with Business Class Ethernet, TWCBC is able to draw a bead on the smaller businesses that haven’t had an alterative to T1 and Frame Relay offerings, or don’t have fiber built out to them.

Cable operators can use DOCSIS to offer business services to small- and mid-size companies in areas such as strip malls, while using fiber to reach the higher-end, enterprise customers such as financial institutions and hospitals.

TWCBC is able to utilize the HFC plant it already has to in place to reach new revenue streams, while giving those customers extended reach and better quality for their existing local area networks (LANs).

“This launch is a significant step in our ‘Ethernet Everywhere’ strategy, which offers customers access to Ethernet services over multiple networks,” said Ken Fitzpatrick, senior vice president of Time Warner Cable Business Services. “Mid-size businesses no longer have to settle for inflexible frame relay or T1 services. Business Class Ethernet boosts performance without straining IT budgets.”

Business Class Ethernet uses DOCSIS 2.0 technology to offer symmetrical speeds of 512 Kbps, 1.5 Mbps and 2 Mbps. It’s a private Layer 2 networking service that provides bandwidth flexibility for customers who need point-to-point and point-to-multipoint functionality.

According to Current Analysis Senior Analyst David Hold, Business Class Ethernet will help TWCBC garner a larger slice of the estimated multi-billion dollar private data networking services pie.

“For years, mid-size customers have had very few alternatives to the legacy services provided by telcos,” said Hold, in part because Carrier Ethernet services usually required fiber-to-the-premises. “Business Class Ethernet changes the game. Its widespread availability on cable HFC networks means that SMBs now have a cost-effective, multi-megabit alternative to telco T1 and Frame Relay data services. This service will be a real competitive differentiator for Time Warner Cable as it continues to grow its commercial business.”

The service was quietly rolled out in upstate New York – including in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse – and in Portland, Maine, and Milwaukee earlier this year.

Business Class Ethernet has gained certification from the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) for MEF 9 and MEF 14. TWCBC said Business Class Ethernet is slated to be released to all of the company’s divisions by early next year. Pricing information on the cost of the service wasn’t available.

For more on Ethernet services, click here.

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