iris ngnDemand for Ethernet services and direct Internet access (DIA) with built-in QoS are driving two regional fiber networks to formally interconnect and peer with each other. It’s a theme being heard across the independent carrier industry – enterprise and service provider customers are looking for quality fiber connectivity from sources other than traditional tier 1 national carriers. NGN and iRis Networks are the latest to come together to capitalize on this important trend.

The two southeast regional fiber networks will interconnect their networks to provide regional fiber connectivity throughout the Nashville, Knoxville Cleveland, Tenn., Atlanta and North Georgia corridor. Ethernet transport and DIA services will be offered between 1 Mbps and 100 Gbps capacity.

“In addition, the network will provide more opportunity for national providers, both wireless and wireline, to utilize rural fiber networks to deliver services to their customers,” a press release announcing the partnership noted.

NGN is a member-owned middle mile fiber network cooperative connecting 17 counties in North Georgia. Owned by several electric cooperatives, NGN is following a model long pioneered by telco cooperatives and independents in other states, who come together to build and operate independent statewide and regional fiber networks.

iRis Networks, owned by several independent telcos, operates a 5,000-route mile regional fiber network spanning Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and Alabama.

NGN – iRis Interconnection
This interconnection will allow each carrier to offer seamless connections for their customers to each other’s network.

“The connection is in place today and set up to enable both commercial teams to sell seamless carrier Ethernet transport services on each other’s networks,” said iRis Networks’ CEO Terry Metze in an email to Telecompetitor. ”The challenge is really how we capture and present that network inventory from both sides and we’re working on that, however that is not slowing down the conversations.”

NGN - iRis

NGN – iRis Network Map

Both Metze and NGN CEO Paul Belk see great opportunity with the enterprise sector for these types of regional connections.

“Ultimately, it is the enterprise market that drives this demand,” said Metze and Belk in a joint statement. “Enterprise clients are looking for solutions to connect multiple regional locations with Ethernet, and are also looking for connectivity to major interconnect points (Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, Ashburn, Atlanta) where they can directly connect to content and applications. ”

NGN is in expansion mode, according to Belk. “NGN is constantly evaluating market opportunities,” Belk tells Telecompetitor. “We are currently working to expand our DWDM routes into the Northwest Georgia area via a recently acquired fiber route to Chattanooga, TN, to ultimately create a new ring back into Atlanta.”

By interconnecting with iRis, NGN also gains an entry point into Indatel, the consortium of independent regional fiber networks that is busily working to build a national network presence, offering a true alternative to established tier 1 national networks.

“Through iRis’s connections, Indatel members will be able to reach locations on the unique NGN footprint,” said Metze. “What’s exciting about this opportunity is there isn’t an Indatel member company in Georgia.”

Indatel provides enterprises and carriers connectivity to both major points-of-presence and harder to reach rural markets across the country.

“This interconnection gives us a chance to reach out to those independent providers and offer them connectivity to Indatel or whatever location or provider they may need to reach for their business,” Metze added.