LightPointe teams up with 2Connect in Bahrain

Outdoor wireless access products supplier LightPointe has teamed up with Bahrain telecoms operator 2Connect to offer high-speed voice and data services based on the vendor’s DualPath architecture.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  February 8, 2006

Outdoor wireless access products supplier LightPointe has teamed up with 2Connect, Bahrain’s first independent telecoms operator, to offer high-speed voice and data services based on the vendor’s DualPath architecture. 2Connect, an emerging competitive carrier in Bahrain, has deployed LightPointe’s FlightStrata 100 XA outdoor, point-to-point wireless links as part of a metropolitan Ethernet mesh network throughout Manama. In total, 2Connect has installed eight FlightStrata 100 XA links to provide local businesses with secure, high-capacity voice, data and video communication. The company is offering ‘five nines’ (99.999%) carrier class network availability despite the harsh environmental conditions the system will have to cope with. 2Connect Bahrain claims to be the first competitive carrier to roll-out cost–effective, enhanced network services since the deregulation of the country’s telecoms industry in July 2004. In mid-2005, 2Connect began installing its own high-speed infrastructure, completely bypassing the fibre network of the incumbent operator, Batelco. Centrally located in a major skyscraper in Manama, 2Connect installed LightPointe FlightStrata 100 XA links on its rooftop as well as those of nearby buildings to allow the distribution of fast Ethernet point-to-point connectivity to major companies in the financial services, insurance and hospitality industries. 2Connect is offering customers a range of bandwidth-intensive services including telephony, broadband data exchange, VPV and video conferencing. Fahad AlShirawi, managing director at 2Connect explained the reason for selecting LightPointe: “We are rapidly signing up new customers and capturing market share, while our competitors still pay for leased lines. LightPointe’s outdoor wireless connections let us expand our high-speed network faster as well as more simply and economically than with any other technology — and still pass along significant savings to our customers.” Bob Preston, LightPointe’s chief marketing officer, added: “In emerging and deregulated markets, LightPointe’s outdoor point-to-point wireless solutions are accelerating new network rollouts amid ever-increasing competition and growing subscriber demand for bandwidth-intensive voice and data services.” LightPointe claims that its links serve as extremely cost-effective ‘last-mile’ access connections to international network circuits. For one major financial services client, 2Connect installed a FlightStrata 100 XA to replace three local access lines, claiming that this resulted in savings of more than US$10,000 per month for the customer — meaning a genuine return on investment after just two months. Before picking LightPointe, 2Connect evaluated a number of connectivity options including standalone radio frequency, microwave, WiMAX and CDMA. Given the levels of haze and dust in Bahrain, 2Connect needed a system that also offered a secondary connection option in case the primary path was broken. The LightPointe system combines a fast Ethernet optical link with a 5.8 GHz unlicensed radio frequency technology, providing built in redundancy for all weather conditions, according to the vendor. 2Connect is aggressively pushing its new solutions and has plans to deploy five additional LightPointe links per month for a total of 60 new outdoor point-to-point wireless installations in 2006. The company is also evaluating how the system can be utilised in multi-tenant residential settings. LightPointe also harbours big plans for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region and is poised to announce more deals in the coming months.

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