“ECN has used an ‘asset light’ approach to build its NGN, adopting the view that capital should only be invested in the network at the points of highest value. To this end, ECN owns the routing and switching platforms, but leases layer 1 physical capacity from infrastructure providers, such as Dark Fibre Africa or Broadlinks for example,” says Mike Britz, ECN COO. “This asset light model incorporates the objectivity required to provide the network solution that most closely fits our customer’s requirements. ECN does not own physical telecomms assets or have preferred partners and therefore has the freedom to source infrastructure from the most suitable suppliers on a case-by-case basis,” he adds.
ECN has signed, certified and implemented bilateral interconnect agreements with all the incumbent operators. Britz points out: “The further a call has to travel over the incumbents network, the more ECN is required to pay to the incumbent. The only way to avoid or minimise these charges is by greater integration with the incumbents’ network. ECN has made a significant investment in interconnect simply as a result of the enhanced investment returns that this provides.”
ECN has data centers in all of South Africa’s major metropolitan centers including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town. “We are also planning a further four points-of-presence in the near future, targeting customers in other major cities. The data centers are all connected via a high capacity, fully meshed, self healing fibre optic ring, says Mohamed Rangila, executive manager of infrastructure at ECN.
Britz says: “very few companies are interested in technology for its own sake – most just want to know how it can add value to their business. That’s why we always put our customer’s business requirements at the centre of everything we do. Having already built our NGN, we’re now able to focus our attention on ensuring that service consistently meets or exceeds customer expectations.”
In line with this philosophy ECN has developed a state-of-theart Network Operations Centre (NOC). The NOC enables ECN to be more proactive in monitoring, anticipating, localising and isolating network related problems. When problems occur, the activities of the frontline personnel countrywide are coordinated and despatched from a single control point,” he adds.