21 January 2005

Waterford MAN - e-net take over management

Last Wed evening I went with a number of TSSG colleagues to a meeting about Waterford's MAN (Metropolitan Area Network). The official launch of the network itself was last September: Waterford MAN launch.

This is an OAN (Open Access Network) owned by the public body (in this case Waterford Corporation), but leased out to competing operators. Where e-net come into it is as the neutral administrators of this network. It is part of regional and national network of such MANs. Service providers can pay standard rates to e-net to get rackspace in the co-location facility in each city/town. This then means that businesses connected can buy services from any of the service providers who have set up like this. The idea is that this reduces the infrastructural investment costs that each service provider has to put up before being able to start offering broadband to customers.

The TSSG has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for these developments. Willie Donnelly, the Director of the TSSG, co-founded the SEISS (South East Information Society Strategy) initiative. The original SERPANT proposal, coming from SEISS, for funding from the Irish Department of Communications, the Marine and Natutal Resources (DCMNR) is what led to the investment in the regional WANs in the South East of Ireland: Clonmel, Dungarvan, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford.

As yet this the MAN service is primarily targetted at business and large public sector customers, rather than individual end users, but with new wireless standards with wide area coverage we could see the MANs being used as a core network for a much wider service offering to consumers.

I have been very interested in the concept of open access networks for a few years now, both in terms of core optical networks, and in terms of wireless access networks. I have been very impressed by KTH (Technical Unioversity of Stockholm) and their involvment in Stockholm Open. This currently allows multiple operators to share both a core optical network and a WiFi access network in Stockhom and its suburbs (such as Kista where KTH and Ericsson are based). I hope that the MANs can deviver a pan-Irish open access network based on on these same principles.

Posted by mofoghlu at January 21, 2005 10:46 AM | TrackBack