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Seasoned Service Providers Learn New Tricks with MetaSwitch


Alameda, CA: March 2008. For established carriers, transforming existing networks can seem like a daunting task - financially, technically and operationally. Three seasoned service providers - Ritter Communications, Champaign Telephone Company and the Ontario & Trumansburg Telephone Companies - were all faced with this challenge. Each is a successful service provider, with a combined 310 years of providing telecommunications services to their subscribers. All three looked to MetaSwitch to help them build a foundation for the 21st Century.

“MetaSwitch clearly understands how to help established carriers successfully transform their networks to offer all services – from traditional voice to next-generation IP telephony applications – so they can address a wide range of customers and maximize return on investment,” said Bob Harvey, area vice president of MetaSwitch. “MetaSwitch remains committed to delivering leading-edge technology and providing comprehensive system integration support to ensure our customers can quickly and cost-effectively deliver services to their subscribers.”

Ritter Communications is a 101-year-old independent local exchange carrier (ILEC) in northeastern and north central Arkansas. For the past four years, the company has also been operating as a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) to the nearly 60,000-resident city of Jonesboro, Ark., as well as owning and operating a number of cable TV franchises across northern and northeastern Arkansas that it acquired in 2005. The company is deploying the MetaSwitch class 4/5 softswitch to provide traditional voice, VoIP and voice-over-cable. The goal is to integrate with a broad mix of access technologies across Ritter’s ILEC, CLEC and cable TV operations to deliver an efficient, functional and reliable network. In addition to converting all of its switches to the MetaSwitch platform, Ritter Communications is utilizing the MetaSphere service delivery platform to deploy advanced applications that include Unified Messaging, CommPortal web interface, CommAssistant toolbar, Auto-Attendant and Privacy Defender.

According to Paul Waits, president of Ritter Communications, the decision to use MetaSwitch was due to the company’s ability to deploy new services in a variety of network infrastructures - traditional telephone company networks, CLEC business networks and packet-based cable networks. “MetaSwitch interfaces with all of our ’old’ stuff, helping to extend the life of our legacy gear while providing competitive enhanced services across the entire footprint,” he explained.

The Champaign Telephone Company (CT Communications) was founded in 1898 to serve the small, rural communities of Western Ohio. The deregulation of services in the late 1990s allowed the Urbana-based service provider to become the first telephone company in its area to offer high-speed Internet services. A self-proclaimed “early adopter of technology,” the company continued its push into delivering next-generation services when it deployed the MetaSwitch softswitch platform in 2007. Originally, CT Communications used the switching system to offer traditional phone services, but the company recently began to deliver IP-based telephony services and now provides a “triple-play” bundle of broadband, wireless and digital TV.

In addition, CT Communications is using the MetaSphere service delivery platform (SDP) and application suite to provide hosted PBX services to small-to-medium businesses in the Urbana area. The IP-PBX service is part of the company’s new CLEC strategy, running services like digital voicemail and Auto-Attendant over broadband.

“MetaSwitch makes the transition to becoming a hosted IP services provider far easier than using traditional PBX models,” said John Ridder, director of network planning, CT Communications. “The hosted service means no big capital investment for us, and since the MetaSphere system is so user-friendly, we don’t need to employ specific programmers and the web management features make it easy for our customers to manage their phone services.”

The Ontario & Trumansburg Telephone Companies (OTTC) are the largest independently owned ILECs in New York State, serving their respective areas for 100 years. The companies, under the subsidiary Finger Lakes Technologies Group, Inc., (FLTG), chose MetaSwitch as the switching platform for their new CLEC operation. The CLEC territory will comprise a 200-mile fiber network extending from Ithaca to Rochester and towards the Western part of New York State. FLTG is deploying the MetaSwitch VP3510 switch to deliver traditional voice, long distance, unified messaging and conference bridging.

“In order to remain competitive for another hundred years, we needed to expand and offer services outside of our traditional ILEC operation,” said Paul Griswold, president, OTTC and FLTG. “MetaSwitch is a trusted partner as we build out this completely new system to offer advanced services to a new customer base.”
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