XO Communications Launches Ethernet Services - InformationWeek

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XO Communications Launches Ethernet Services

XO Communications Inc. will begin offering fiber-based metropolitan-area networks at Ethernet speeds in selected cities starting in November and throughout most of its 50-plus markets by mid-2001. XO, formerly Nextlink Communications Inc., will offer its Ethernet services at 10Mbit/sec, 100Mbit/sec, and 1Gbit/sec over its citywide fiber networks, which will be linked so the services can be used nationwide later this year or early next year.

XO, which launched the services during the first day of the Networld+Interop show in Atlanta, claims the services are designed to enable companies to link Ethernet LANs at native speeds. They'll be delivered more quickly and their bandwidth will be increased faster than previous lower-speed and more expensive metropolitan-area networks. The telecom service provider says Yahoo has signed on as the first customer for the GigE segment of the Ethernet service. XO declined to provide pricing for the services.

"The entry of a much larger player into this market-which has been dominated by Yipes and Cogent-should help raise the profile of these services and get them on the radar of IT managers," says Carl Garland, an analyst at consultancy Current Analysis. "XO has the resources needed to offer more than just bandwidth, meaning they can offer services over their networks, support them, and likely provide any access equipment needed to use them. The shortcoming is that initally these offerings don't support voice traffic."

XO also unveiled XO Options, a broad array of services and equipment bundles targeted at small and midsize businesses at unspecified flat monthly rates. They include local and long distance service, Internet access, and hosting services, with usage consolidated on one monthly bill. The company claims it has spent $120 million in the last year on an operational support system that would support the billing and other facets of the bundles.

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