Yipes is offering Gigabit Ethernet services in 20 metropolitan areas and offers city-to-ciity connectivity through third-party carriers. Cogent is primarily offering Gigabit Ethernet Internet access services, and Telseon is primarily selling to other service providers.
While it's ideal to have direct Gigabit Ethernet over fiber to each location, Tomae says that won't be an option for users in some smaller cities or remote locations. In those cases, customers will have to connect to Broadwing's Gigabit Ethernet service using a standard OC-3, 155M bit/sec or OC-12 622M bit/sec connection. But these high-speed connections can be difficult to find even in high-traffic areas.
Last December Gensler & Associates, an architectural firm in San Francisco, ordered two T-3, 45M bit/sec lines from its local service provider and two similar circuits in New York. Gensler is still waiting.
Despite the wait, T-3 and OC-3 services are proven. Broadwing and other Gigabit Ethernet carriers still have to show customers that Gigabit Ethernet is a viable wide-area alternative, The Yankee Group's Maynard says. Price will only take them so far, but if the services cannot be restored as quickly as traditional WAN services, users aren't going to stick with them, he says.
Broadwing may be in a better position than its Gigabit Ethernet competitors because it is also offering users traditional services, such as private line, ATM and frame relay.
Broadwing says users can connect offices across the country, but the service is expected to first be available in a few select cities to beta- test customers and then generally available in the third quarter.