BT feels heat from LAN extension rivals

Red-M has launched a package that is designed to rival BT’s 10Mbit/s LAN Extension Services 10 (LES10). Red-M chief executive Neil Clark believes the cost and flexibility of the firm’s new wireless service, called Radio Extension Service (RES), could tempt comms managers in enterprises and local authorities away from LES10.
BT’s LES products are normally used to transmit critical network services between offices over fibre-optic links. However, BT recently started to replace its LES products with wholesale products sold through its Openreach division, and this change may well play into the hands of rival providers such as Red-M.
LES is being replaced by Wholesale End-to-End Extension Services (WEES). The only real difference between the two services is in how connection and rental charges are calculated, and as Clark is keen to point out, WEES is significantly more expensive than Red-M’s RES.
Clark said IT and comms managers recognise the value of BT’s LES products but that the higher cost of WEES undermines its current business model. “The feedback we’re getting from end-user organisations is that they badly need an alternative [to WEES10],” he added.
Red-M’s RES is a wireless point-to-point service that is offered in various implementations from 10Mbit/s to 40Mbit/s, depending on the distance between sites. Currently, the maximum distance is around 30km, according to Clark. BT’s WEES10 transmits at 10Mbit/s, but has a greater range of 40km.
Red-M said RES enables firms to be connected 24/7, with a quality of service that allows simultaneous data, video and voice transmission. Red-M uses Ofcom’s “light” licensed 5GHz frequency, but can increase the frequency to 30GHz if faster connectivity is required, although range and building penetration decrease as the frequency increases. Hardware used for the service comes from a number of vendors, including Motorola and Alvarion.
Red-M quotes around £10,500 for a 10Mbit/s RES link over a distance of 7km, but claims it can provide greater bandwidth while still being up to 60 per cent cheaper than a BT LES 10Mbit/s circuit.
Red-M is not the only wireless service to challenge BT’s extended LAN services. Manchester Metronet is competing with BT in Greater Manchester, putting special emphasis on the flexibility of its terms.
“[BT’s] five-year contracts are unreasonable,” the firm’s John Earley said. “If the service is good, and the pricing competitive, customers should not have to be contracted for such a long time. Manchester Metronet works on the basis of a 12-month contract on the premise that we will work to retain customers through quality and value of service.”
The vendor said it offers a secure, uncontended point-to-point internet access and IP services based on a fixed published price list.

SEARCH Press Releases :