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Erenis delivers telephony and internet over IP to Paris Public Housing

RAD Data Communications Ltd : 24 May, 2005  (New Product)
Erenis, a rising, new operator that is hooking up Parisian buildings to provide telephone and Internet access services to customers with limited income, has deployed IPmux TDM over IP gateways from RAD Data Communications to transport voice traffic over an IP Ethernet Metropolitan Area Network.
Launched in October 2002, Erenis is the first French fixed broadband telecommunication operator to roll out an alternative last mile network. This independence allows it to offer telephone service to subscribers for less than €5 per month. Several thousand renters living in public housing units managed by Sagi (the French acronym of Real Estate Management Company) are already hooked up to this service. Other public housing management firms have opened up their properties to Erenis as well. This strategic partnership with the main public housing authorities in of Paris has enabled Erenis to install a POP in each building’s basement, as well as the cabling that prepares the building to receive its telephony services.

In addition to telephony and Web access, Erenis's own infrastructure will help enable the development of services requiring high speed connectivity, such as video-on-demand or IP television.

Transporting Fiber Optics in Sewers'Our biggest strength lies in having received authorization to install fiber optics by using the sewers of the city of Paris, right up to the foot of the building,' comments Fausto Geromel, head of technical department at Erenis. In order to be able to do so, the property management companies provide Erenis a space in each building to install a PBX and a router. In parallel, Erenis deploys a copper pair inside each building’s duct space. 'In fact, we try to piggyback our copper with the incumbent carrier's or cable TV operator's,' Geromel adds. 'If no room is available, however, we don't hesitate to make the necessary changes.' The combination of fiber to the building and copper pair over the last few meters reduces the cost of the connection. At the same time, using VDSL technology, it delivers telephony service and/or broadband Internet access to each and every one of the building's residents.

IPmux as Telephony GatewayVoice and Internet data communication is transported over the Erenis MAN to a data center located in a Paris suburb that serves as a hub for all the region's telephony operators. In order to transport the telephony flow through the MAN, Erenis connects each building's PBX to an IPmux-11. Equipped with a 2 Mbps E1 port on the PABX side, the IPmux-11 is connected to a router on the IP side. At the other end of the MAN, an IPmux-16 gateway (which features up to 16 E1 ports) receives all the communication and delivers it to a central PABX that is connected to the telephony networks of all the other telecom operators.

Erenis didn't choose the IPmux gateways when they started out. When it all began, they integrated VoIP cards into the PBX in the basement of every building they served. During the deployment process, however, traffic to the central site PABX became terribly congested, which, in turn, resulted in selected connections being cut. When that happened, Erenis considered a telephony-over-IP solution from a European manufacturer, but that didn't work out for commercial reasons. Then, in January 2005, FONEX, an international telecom integrator, proposed RAD's IPmux as an alternative. TDMoIP complied with all of Erenis's technical and commercial requirements.

Jerome Brisset, General Manager of FONEX in France, concurs, adding that Erenis's project was worth the investment because the development perspective is promising. 'In the near term we plan installations at 17 other sites in Paris,' Brisset states. Two buildings located near Paris's suburbs already have been connected. 'The IPmux was integrated in a single day, and a few more days were required afterwards to adjust the audio quality and fine-tune echo attenuation issues,' adds Erenis's Geromel.

VoIP Still Too ExpensiveWhile there is a lot of talk nowadays about an all-IP network, the combination of a PBX and an IPmux to transmit telephony conversations is a solution worthy of serious consideration. 'VoIP technology does not yet fit the requirements of the residential subscriber's legacy telephone,' Geromel explains. 'It does not support certain existing applications like fax and medical tele-alarm systems for senior citizens, and, in addition, VoIP access is still two or three times more expensive than a classic telephony solution because it has to include integrated access equipment to deliver voice and data,' he continues. 'On the other hand, our solution allows all telecom equipment and internal wiring at the residential unit to remain in tact because our cabling system is connected right up to each home's external telephone box,' he notes. 'This service continuity allows us to convert within the first few weeks more than 25 percent of the residential units in connected buildings,' Geromel concludes. 'This penetration rate can only increase over the next several months, as will the number of connected buildings.' Erenis targets both Paris and its near-suburbs, giving it a potential audience of six million subscribers. This translates into a significant number of IPmux gateways that will be installed.

'Erenis, like many other alternate carriers, has validated the IPmux solution for transporting telephony traffic over an Ethernet network,' declares Daniel Dumont, General Manager of RAD France. 'RAD's TDMoIP technology will be here as long as VoIP won't be cost effective and as long as the problems associated with its functionality are not resolved,' Dumont predicts.

About ErenisFounded in October 2002, Erenis is the first French telecom operator to offer an alternative telephony service to France Telecom (4.90 €/month instead of 13.99 €/month). Erenis subscribers benefit from the deployment of a new local loop network, which provides bandwidth rates of 15 to 100 Mbps. In addition to telephony and Internet access services, this infrastructure, unique in France, enables the development of new services exploiting very high bandwidth networks. Currently servicing 20,000 Paris subscribers, the Erenis network will reach over 40,000 dwellings by the end of the year. The launch of Erenis has been sustained by ANVAR (the French Agency for Innovation) among others, as well as by NetPartners, a European investment fund. Erenis is headed by Emanuele Angelidis, co-founder and previous CEO at Ebiscom/Fastweb in Italy.
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