Following its recent alliance with US carrier MCI, BT has announced a pilot ATM service for relaying voice, video and data applications to the US.
The telco has installed 45Mbits of capacity to link its own Cellstream ATM infrastructure with MCI?s Hyperstream, allowing customers to configure circuits between sites in the UK and the US.
UK Internet service provider, Netcom, will be the first customer of the pilot Cellstream service and BT plans to launch a full-blown commercial service to the US in mid-1997.
According to Barry Hinton, BT?s ATM services manager, Cellstream gives customers the opportunity to specify different bandwidths for incoming and outgoing transmissions and will also allow them to save money by only buying the bandwidth that they know they will use. Providing more bandwidth, or new virtual circuits, takes only a few days as opposed to several months for traditional circuits. ?Cellstream offers a fine granulity of bandwidth options which is ideal for someone with a rapidly changing user profile, like ISPs,? said Hinton.
Nick Lambert, operations director at Netcom, commented: ?We have a large demand for bringing traffic from the US, certainly more than the demand for data going there. Therefore we have got more bandwidth for coming in than going out.?
Cellstream transports ATM cells on a point-to-point virtual connection basis. The transatlantic service is relayed across a 45Mbit international link using new SDH cables (TAT12 and 13) which, if broken, automatically reroute data within milliseconds, avoiding any manual switching process. Two classes of service are available: Constant Bit Rate (CBR) for voice data and video or Variable Bit Rate for data. But BT was unable to release any pricing information.
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