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Wireless videoconferencing connects rural schools

Alcatel bandwidth management solution enables videoconferencing on BCL’s Extend wireless broadband network

Wireless videoconferencing connects rural schools to the world

Alcatel, the world leader in broadband access solutions, has combined with Broadcast Communications Limited (BCL) to provide New Zealand’s first next-generation quality of service (QoS) and bandwidth management solution, enabling wireless videoconferencing on BCL’s Extend network.

Based on the installation of Alcatel’s 7750 Service Router (SR), in tandem with secure wireless technology from Airspan, the solution is also a first for the Asia-Pacific region and allows BCL to manage bandwidth and deliver the QoS required for a new videoconference class of service on Extend.

The new service is already being used by Telecom to deliver a wireless version of SchoolZone, which includes videoconferencing and a high-speed Internet connection, to rural schools outside the reach of fixed-line broadband.

One of the first schools to trial the new wireless service is Kuranui Primary School in rural South Waikato. Principal Daryl Aim said the technology was already transforming pupils’ learning experiences.

Recently, children at Kuranui Primary School joined students from schools in Dunedin and Auckland to participate in a videoconference with Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff, who took part from Scott Base. The Minister was in Antarctica to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Erebus disaster and the 50th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Antarctic crossing.

BCL Managing Director Geoff Lawson said the Alcatel solution allowed BCL to offer an advanced range of services to its service provider customers and was already benefiting rural communities.

“We developed Extend to bring broadband to heartland New Zealand. This state-of-the-art bandwidth management solution means we can deliver even more broadband benefits to those rural communities,” he said.

The Alcatel 7750 SR is the industry’s first IP/MPLS router designed and optimized for the delivery of scalable and profitable advanced IP-based services. Its unique hierarchical quality of service capabilities means that BCL can differentiate the traffic it carries, guaranteeing varying classes of service levels, without the need for excess bandwidth.

Geoff Lawson said the Alcatel solution met BCL’s three key technical requirements of bandwidth management, billing record generation, and integration with existing reporting and element management systems. It also future proofs against network growth and expansion and ensures that BCL can keep up with customer demand for new enhanced broadband services.

“We’ve also been delighted with the commitment of Alcatel New Zealand to supporting the solution, understanding our business requirements and building a strong working relationship,” Mr. Lawson said.

Andrew Fairgray, Chief Executive Officer, Alcatel New Zealand added, “we worked closely with BCL to develop a solution that provides them with the advanced quality of service and network management they need to reach their goal of being a leading-edge player in the industry’s wholesale broadband market.”

“The solution represents an innovative application of our technology, which clearly benefits end-users. As an Asia-Pacific first for Alcatel, this deployment demonstrates the leading technology thinking that is happening here in New Zealand.”

About BCL Broadcast Communications Limited (BCL) is New Zealand's wireless communications network company and a leading solutions partner to the communications industry.

As a member of the THL Group, BCL is also part of a communications network group with a reputation for delivering innovative wireless engineering, broadcasting and telecommunications services to customers in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

The THL Group employs one of Australasia's leading teams of world-class wireless engineering experts and manages television, radio, wireless access, cellular and telecommunications network services at more than 1,000 sites across New Zealand and Australia.

About Alcatel Alcatel provides communications solutions to telecommunication carriers, Internet service providers and enterprises for delivery of voice, data and video applications to their customers or employees. Alcatel brings its leading position in fixed and mobile broadband networks, applications and services, to help its partners and customers build a user-centric broadband world. With sales of EURO 12.5 billion in 2003, Alcatel operates in more than 130 countries.

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