UK-based virtual network operator (VNO) Vanco last month launched its long-awaited Web-based portal that simplifies the process of designing, purchasing and maintaining data networks from a wide range of network operators across the globe. NetDirect gives customers online access to over 7,000 MPLS points-of-presence (PoPs) and over 15,000 DIA PoPs spread across 160 countries.
As a VNO, Vanco does not own any network infrastructure but operates on wholesale business agreements with service providers and resells them to enterprise customers. Its services allow customers to set up a worldwide network for data services involving multiple operators, but to only have contact with the VNO.
NetDirect allows clients as well as prospects to obtain quotations for routing data services worldwide via a number of networks - essentially allowing companies to comparative shop for MPLS and Internet access services online in real time. The portal enables customers to quickly and easily custom design the optimum data network for their requirements. The firm claims a person can be trained to design and purchase international data services in just one hour.
Wayne Churchill, CEO of Vanco NetDirect, said the launch of the Web portal is in response to the growing demand for managed data services as enterprises gear up to embrace business expansion in the global market.
He said large enterprises are looking to reduce the complexity of their network agreements and looking for a single carrier that provides end-to-end services across the globe as they expand their business. But most asset-based telecom carriers such as BT and AT&T failed to so, as it is economically impossible for them to own infrastructure in multiple-domestic markets, given the hefty cost of local connections.
After registering, users simply select the cities to be covered and type of services they want and the portal offers options from five to six providers in most large cities. Pricing is displayed, but the name of the carriers is not shown.
According to Churchill, Vanco has established business relationships with 650 asset-based carriers.
Vanco started developing the portal back in 2001, but the project shifted into high gear after its acquisition of Chicago-based Universal Access in May 2005 gave Vanco sophisticated software and access to UA's Web-based pricing and design software.
The acquisition doubled Vanco US-customer base, and the firm's revenue jumped 41% to $274 million in the last fiscal year.
Its customers include Fuji Film, SGC, British Airways, Ford Motor Company, Siemens, Accor Hotels, Swisscom, AT&T and Bell Canada.
Apart from large enterprises and system integrators, Vanco is also targeting asset-based carriers in Asia, which have international connectivity, but whose physical networks don't reach the local markets.
'There are only a few carriers that have global reach, but almost everyone has multinational customers,' Churchwill said. 'With NetDirect telecom carriers can offer their customers additional network capability on a global scale at competitive price.'
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