Thursday, August 23, 2001

Oxford Networks expands broadband coverage area

Published in Interface Tech News

In Norway, the company built a central office and laid 400 strands of fiber as part of creating its own infrastructure to compete with Verizon.

"We ran copper to people's houses. We don't have Verizon copper anywhere," said Todd DeWitt, the company's general manager of network solutions.

Oxford has seen DSL demand rise as people who own houses in the area decide to telecommute more frequently.

According to DeWitt, real estate agents often come to Oxford with lists of addresses, and the service provider tells the agents which houses can get DSL service, so home buyers can weigh that in their decision making.

"We've more or less affected the real estate market with DSL," DeWitt said.

The company's growth is supported by its telephone system, which serves 14,000 customers in western Maine. That financial stability is important for customers and investors, according to senior analyst Maribel Dolinov at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research.

Oxford is also building a major network access point in Portland to speed up Internet traffic within Maine.

Several larger services may be partnering in that effort, which will shorten the network distance between Maine's major Internet service providers to just one hop, DeWitt said.

As part of these of expansions, Oxford has summoned the software of Sanford, Maine-based Somix Technologies to manage its network. Somix's WebNM product, DeWitt said, is both useful and backed by responsive customer service. Since the package was installed in June, DeWitt said, it has been very useful.

"We've gotten a lot more information out of our network," he said. Oxford also offers reports to its customers, so they can see their network usage and Web site traffic.

"They like to know what's going on in their services," DeWitt said.

Dolinov agreed. "Customers want to make sure that you are delivering on what you say you are offering," she said. "Good network management can allow companies to predict problems and solve them before they occur, leading to better service more consistently. It's absolutely essential going forward."