CARRIER ETHERNET NEWS – April 3, 2014 – Carrier Ethernet service provider FirstLight considers its local focus to be a key differentiator – and a good example of that focus is the quoting system that the New England and upstate New York-based company is putting together.

As FirstLight Senior Director of Marketing and Product Management Maura Mahoney explained in an interview, the company took the time to map all buildings within 250 feet of its network and, based on first-hand knowledge of those buildings, is making a judgment about how long it would take to bring fiber to each of those buildings. FirstLight doesn’t offer Carrier Ethernet over copper and rarely uses another company’s fiber in its home markets.

Enterprise and network operator customers “will have predictability of time frames” when they order Carrier Ethernet service, explained Mahoney. “If a customer asks how quickly they can get service, we can quote them a time frame.”

Creating this sort of system would be impossible without local knowledge, commented Jim Capuano, FirstLight Chief of Network Operations.

For example, Capuano noted that “some landlords can make it more difficult to get in.”

On the flip side, Mahoney commented that “Aerial access makes it a real easy proposition.”

After taking into account these and other factors, FirstLight’s team is putting each building into one of three categories. People wanting service in the easy-to-reach buildings will be quoted 45 days, while those in the most difficult buildings will be quoted on an individual case basis, explained Capuano. Customers wanting to reach buildings of medium difficulty will be quoted 120 days.

A New Carrier Ethernet Access Offering

FirstLight also strives to leverage its local focus in serving wholesale customers. An example of how the company is addressing the needs of those customers is the Carrier Ethernet access service that the company recently launched.

As Capuano explained, FirstLight conforms to the Carrier Ethernet access service parameters specified in the MEF’s Carrier Ethernet 2.0 standard. The company hasn’t gone through the grueling testing process required to obtain Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification.

But as Mahoney explained, “We’re considering the value of being able to say we’re certified rather than compliant.” For now, she said that when dealing with customers “as long as [we can say we’re] compliant, we seem to be speaking the same language.”

FirstLight is one of numerous Carrier Ethernet network operators who have told me that the Carrier Ethernet 2.0 access specifications have made it much easier for network operators to buy or sell a Carrier Ethernet access line.

Previously, “we had to go through crazy questionnaires to determine how we would deliver the services,” explained Capuano. In addition he said “Ethernet testing took months until we could be certified with another carrier.”

Now that FirstLight has implemented the Carrier Ethernet 2.0 standard, turning up a new carrier customer is speedier and more streamlined, Capuano said. Mahoney added that the standard goes as far as detailing how service testing should be done – and that also has helped simplify dealings with carrier customers.

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