Philippines gets faster data bandwidth

MANILA (03/04/2004) - Local companies looking for a high-speed fiber optic network service have finally found an answer. GlobeQuest, the data communications arm of Innove Communications, is bringing high-speed bandwidth down to the last-mile, which will enable local businesses to connect to a fiber optic network that can support a total capacity of up to 80G bits per second (bps).

This new access service is based on Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM), a technology that enables higher transmission of data over a single pair of optical fiber. The new service allows GlobeQuest to offer network services such as Fast Ethernet (100M bps), Gigabit Ethernet (1G bps), Escon (200M bps) and Fiber Channel (1G bps).

GlobeQuest's Broadband Access Service (BAX) is already available in a selected number of buildings in Metro Manila and Cebu. The service is also planned for deployment in Davao. Building tenants can connect directly to the high-speed network. The company is also offering an "off-net implementation" which can allow a company in an adjacent building to connect to the nearest DWDM network node.

"The Philippines has traditionally under-invested in bandwidth. Today is just a small step, but it will give local companies a number of benefits," Gil Genio, CEO of Innove, said during the launch of the service recently.

Jesus Romero, GlobeQuest head, said the new service will allow companies to consolidate their network connections in a single high-speed network. Prior to this, local companies traditionally acquired several network links just to be able to fill up their bandwidth requirements. With the BAX, companies can get faster access speeds from just one fiber link.

Under the BAX, one fiber is divided into 32 channels, with each channel capable of carrying up to 2.5 G bps. GlobeQuest's DWDM network and its existing Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) network allow services such as DS3, STM-1, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, ESCON, Fiber Channel, and Lambda (2.5G bps to 10G bps).

The new access service is being aimed at companies that require fast bandwidth. Romero said they are initially positioning the service for business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, banks, financial institutions, telecommunication carriers, Internet service providers, and Internet data centers.

He added that GlobeQuest is particularly optimistic about the call center market. This sector already grew by a robust 110 percent in 2003 from 10,000 to 21,000 seats and is expected to grow by another 80 percent to 100 percent this year.

Another promising sector is the banking and financial industry. A directive from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) for banks to implement business continuity and disaster recovery measures present a big opportunity for network providers, he added.

The availability of a high-speed network will enable local companies to deploy new applications. Aside from the deployment of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), demand for storage consolidation and other related applications is expected to go up. The faster bandwidth will allow companies to implement remote storage management processes at a faster speed and at a relatively lower cost, said Romero.

The company is also mulling the creation of a hosting service for the local animation industry. Under this plan, GlobeQuest will offer to host a rendering server, used by the animation industry to create life-like animations. The cost of a rendering server has traditionally been very steep, and GlobeQuest is planning to bring the cost down through their high-speed network and charge customers on a per usage basis.

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