Surfin' USA: Colt launches enterprise services in 13 cities

After a little over a year of planning, Colt Technology Services launched its U.S. network in 13 cities across 30 data centers.

Colt is offering enterprises in the U.S. cities bandwidth services of up to 100 Gbps that are delivered over entire wavelengths and Ethernet. Colt is also providing customers in Boston, Toronto, New York, Newark, Ashburn, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Seattle private network options and various wholesale services.

Colt's On Demand bandwidth service, which lets customers dial up their bandwidth as needed, will be rolled out in U.S. in the fourth quarter. In an interview with FierceTelecom, Colt CEO Carl Grivner said the frontend technology was in place for the On Demand service, but the backend technology, such as billing and order management, needed a few more months.

Colt's global networks key for customers

The big picture advantage of Colt coming to the U.S. and Toronto is the provisioning of customers' traffic across its metro networks in Asia and Europe, which includes 870 data centers worldwide and 26,000 fiber-connected buildings. Those customers can stay on Colt's networks with fewer hops compared to using several service providers.

"Customers are looking for fewer providers, and those fewer providers need to have as big of a global footprint as possible," Grivner said. "We think that we're probably number one in terms of overall global reach of our own network versus anybody else. Everybody else uses some combination of off net or uses us in a lot of cases, but we think we're very unique in the fact that we're building networks and building more capabilities."

Grivner said while other service providers were drawing in to serve just their home markets, Colt was looking to expand its global reach in order to get as close to customers as possible using its own assets wherever possible.

"We believe in the asset heavy solution," Grivner said. "We think it allows us to be more flexible and provide our customer with a consistent service level on a global basis, so we're going to continue to look at being asset heavy as much as we possibly can. Basically, if someone wants to go from New York City to San Francisco, that's probably not something that we're going to be successful at. But if they want to go from San Francisco to London and then Singapore, Hong Kong or Tokyo, that's where we think we have a pretty strong value proposition to be successful on our network.

"We have the best, shiny new car on the marketplace today in terms of technology built on Ciena and Cisco's latest and greatest (equipment) so the customer gets the same experience anywhere in the world with the same level of service behind it."

Grivner said that Colt first started planning its U.S. invasion early last year. In addition to selecting data centers for its point-of-presence (POP) access points, Colt also brokered deals with different providers in the U.S. for the fiber connectivity. Grivner declined to name those service providers.

Competition for Colt

Last year, Colt worked with AT&T and Orange on application programming interfaces (APIs) for orchestrated Carrier Ethernet services and conducted a two-way intercarrier SDN network orchestration trial with Verizon earlier this year. Colt's new enterprise services are competing for market share here in the U.S. with Verizon and AT&T, among others, and Orange and BT abroad.

RELATED: Verizon, Colt conduct 2-way intercarrier SDN orchestration trial

BT has its IP Connect Global MPLS available now and plans to launch its Internet Connect Global offering soon, according to Jim Sabey, head of BT Networking and compute sales specialists, in a recent interview with FierceTelecom.

In order to offer bandwidth on demand, Grivner said BT had to overbuild its network to have the capacity in place. It's also relying on a software-defined network (SDN) controller to help provision the service.

Colt has deals in place with Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Grivner said small-to-medium-sized enterprise customers benefit from Colt's offerings since they don't always have the means to do those type of deals themselves or build out their networks to the same degree as larger enterprises.

"We're embedded in several of the large cloud providers and several of the large data center companies are partners of ours," Grivner said. "So it's going to be a combination of those things where you see medium-sized customers utilize that bandwidth on demand capability as well.

"It's (bandwidth on demand) probably something more for the smaller-to-medium sized enterprise market as opposed to just the large ones. The large ones tend to overbuild the network while the small end of the enterprise sector will be a bit more judicious in how they use SDN."

Grivner said Colt would announce some new U.S. markets in the fall, and that it would continue to build out its network capacity, add more data centers, and provision more fiber to buildings both here and abroad.

"That metro last mile connectivity capability makes us very unique on a global basis," he said. "We think it's important to continue to expand the global reach and to get as close to the customers as possible in these major markets using our own assets as much as possible."