Alcatel (Dallas, TX) and Convergence Communications Inc. (CCI--Salt Lake City, UT) have announced a partnership to provide state-of-the-art broadband Internet Protocol (IP) networks to Latin America. According to Lance D'Ambrosio, CCI chairman and CEO, the networks will give Latin American businesses communications technology that is better or equal to that available to their U.S. counterparts, allowing them to compete on an even par. "This deal allows them to skip several generations of technology, as we in North America continue to adopt new technologies only as fast as we can afford to replace old ones," D'Ambrosio says.
Alcatel will arrange vendor financing for CCI as part of the agreement, which is valued at $175 million and expected to operate for a minimum of three years. The project represents Alcatel's first next-generation IP network to be deployed in Latin America on a pan-regional basis, says Krish Prabhu, COO of Alcatel Telecom. "This means IP from the originating desktop, IP through the Ethernet network, then IP back to the receiving desktop," Prabhu elaborates.
The CCI and Alcatel teams will expand networks in 17 cities across Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, and Venezuela, substantially increasing CCI's existing footprint in Latin America. "We have targeted these markets for several reasons," says D'Ambrosio. "The large, pent-up demand for broadband services, the low tele-density, and the lack of broadband infrastructure already installed in the region are the key reasons," he says.
The CCI networks will be "pure" IP networks, optimized for both data and voice applications. The project will utilize broadband wireless access, fiber-optic access, broadband remote access servers, and a gigabit Ethernet core network. Alcatel will be using equipment and technology from the company's recent spate of acquisitions, says Prabhu, noting that products from Xylan, Assured Access, Packet Engines, and Internet Devices are key components of the buildout with CCI.
Prabhu explains some of the wide range of technology involved: "We'll be deploying a fiber ring that goes in a metro area. The ring has nodes which terminate in Packet Engines gigabit Ethernet switches....We also have remote access servers in the ring that allow you to terminate all the voice-over-IP traffic and interconnect to the PTSN," he says. Prabhu adds that the combination will result in a cost per subscriber that is "staggering because it is so low."
The integrated networks will provide a wide range of applications including e-commerce, web hosting, and high-speed internet access, as well as telephony applications such as integrated voice messaging and fax services, pager and web notification, and the provisioning of U.S. 800 numbers through computer telephony integration.