Sunday, September 14, 2014

Quoting Circuits Including the Loop

I think some people are under the impression that a Lit Building, a multi-tenant building with fiber into it, means that the carrier will give away the bandwidth. That is widely inaccurate.

A lit building means that you won't wait months for a build out and turn up of service. That's the benefit of a lit building to the tenants.

Most carriers, especially the ILEC variety, charge a loop to every address -- yes, even to some data centers unless that data center is on a special list. Even Level(3) charges a loop (or backhaul) to a POP. They have to make money on something because the cost of the port is so low.

Fiber locator has a fiber map program. Access is about $500 per month. It isn't a complete carrier list by any stretch. Cable companies and ILECs don't usually give out a lit building list. Carriers that are primarily fiber companies like Cogent do keep a list, but not a public one. And I don't quote Cogent because they are not channel friendly.

BTW, when service providers talk about Cogent or HE at $500 per Gig, they mean port only in a designated data center (like 56 in Atlanta). They don't mean everywhere. And roof rights on 56 are a challenge to come by. I have even heard SPs give per MB pricing for bandwidth but it usually doesn't include the loop. And there is usually a loop. Even in the data center, there is not only a x-connect fee, but that carrier has a loop somewhere to deliver that bandwidth where it needs to go. There is always a loop.

The latest is my average experience.

An ISP requests a quote for 100 MB and 200MB.

I explain that 100MB and 200MB that there will be a big difference due to one being delivered on FastE and the larger on Gigabit transport. The ISP tells me that 100MB comes on a Gigabit circuit. That isn't my experience; but it does depend on the carrier.

The other request was "because we are a WISP we are adaptive and flexible. Just find us a lit building nearby." I offer a fiber finder service for $350. This would have been a good match. Instead, I explain that I will have to manually filter through fiber maps and lit building lists as best as I can.

Two carriers no bid this because there fiber network was too far away. The ILEC did bid. It was off-net for another carrier but they did bid less than the ILEC and reasonable. I sent these quotes to the ISP.

The response was baffling, “Can you find a building that is nearby (say 5, 10, 15, etc miles) with more bandwidth?" That's a large, variable radius. The quotes were delivering the bandwidth to the end user site; not somewhere 10 miles away where you would have to negotiate roof rights and purchase licensed link gear.

In this case, the carriers I work with did not have fiber near this location. My lit buildings lists didn't have anything nearby either. (The lit building lists are spreadsheets, not mapped or organized by zip code.) I explain all this. Hear nothing back. Ping them again.

The reply, "I do think that the cost is higher than what we can do there, so we're looking at a nearby already lit building and licensed link."

The lesson I need to remember here is that as a salespeople I have to do a better job of discovery. I should have nailed down budget first. Next, I should have suggested the fiber finder service, which does come with a refund if the circuit is ordered through my company.

Many of you are also experiencing pricing pressure from your customers. I would encourage you to also ask at least one more question: what is your budget? It will save you time and frustration.

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