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When bandwidth meets the on-demand economy

By Paul Beacham

General Manager TDM Data, Ethernet, Optical & Managed Services

What is flexible bandwidth and how can it help customers meet modern challenges?

In some ways it’s a bit of a misnomer to talk about the on-demand economy as all economies have really been reacting to demand, it’s just that today technology is pushing the limits to real-time delivery of services. Data, or at least data analytics is becoming increasingly crucial to modern day business to manage customers, products and services more effectively. But on-demand is also about being more cost-effective, using the cloud to reduce capital costs and make infrastructure scalable. For example, software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and the internet of things (IoT) are all changing how businesses operate and underpinning this is ethernet connectivity.

Traditionally businesses would have to second-guess their bandwidth requirements for applications and services and buy connectivity in set chunks over defined periods. It worked for a time but those times have now changed. This on-demand economy is ripping up the old rule books and demanding a shift in how enabling services are sold and delivered. With this increase in cloud-based services, connectivity becomes critical to business infrastructure. That means service providers have had to rethink ethernet connectivity and it’s not just about quality and quantity, it’s also about flexibility.

Bandwidth provision has had to evolve and that means being available to meet the demands of customers as and when they want it, a bandwidth tap that is easy to manage and quick to deliver. Flexible bandwidth is not just a nice-to-have, it is increasingly a necessity so we are evolving too and will offer customers the ability to upgrade or downgrade bandwidth via a portal in less than 10 minutes (currently any changes in bandwidth can take up to 24 hours and often longer within the wider industry)

This of course has implications for billing which is why flexible bandwidth will also offer a pay-as-you-go model, calculated to 24-hour periods and billed either monthly, quarterly or annually. The aim is to be as fair and flexible as possible for customers, ensuring they can get access to bandwidth to manage unforeseen events or planned peaks and troughs for their businesses.

What this means is that channel partners can be agile and responsive to individual customer requirements and changing connectivity demands. Add-on services can also be tailored to meet specific needs of customers while providing them with improved total cost of ownership savings. It will foster differentiation and pave the way for how connectivity will continually be delivered, managed and financed. Our approach empowers customers to take control over the increasing flexibility, with portal access as an essential element for self-service. However, to realise the true potential for channel partners, creating a full systems-to-systems interface via APIs supports end-to-end integration into the channel proposition.

As we enter the next phase of connectivity provision, where virtual networks will drive a whole new level of capability and service demand, it’s important that existing customers see this as an opportunity. By offering flexible bandwidth, partners are enabling modern businesses to scale at their own pace, without saddling them with unwanted costs. As service providers we want all customers to succeed and ensuring they have the right tools, when and how they want them is really the least we can do to help them on their journey.

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