Data networking specialist Fibernet Ltd is introducing a pay-on- use charge scheme for customers who take up its bandwidth-on- demand network resources. The 11-year-old company, based in Aldermaston, UK says that the scheme is designed to make more efficient use of network resources, with customers paying for an initially low level of bandwidth on a line rental type basis, and then making additional payments for any extra, higher bandwidth they use. Chief executive Charles McGregor says that at the moment most corporations pay a set amount for network resources, with at least half of the time they pay for not being used. The company was granted a Public Telecommunications Trading License in May 1995 which enabled it to set up high-speed communications links between remote premises. Fibernet went public last June and since then has been busy installing its own UK wide network, buying wayleave from land owners to position cables along railway tracks, canals and alike. Customers will be charged relating to the speed and distance that their information travels, based on Fibernet’s Information Currency Unit. Around 100,000 asynchronous transfer mode cells make up one Unit, enabling the transportation of about 4.8 million characters across the network.
The scheme will be implemented in three phases, due for completion by the end of 1998. Customers will have immediate access to Fibernet’s TANet wide area network and will select a base level of networking capacity that will be charged on a monthly basis. Over time a traffic profile for each customer is established, enabling the base level to be adjusted as necessary. Phase two will extend access to the LAN, and phase three will see completion with ATM switching fabric installed across the whole of Fibernet’s TANet network. The company says that it intends to extend the network to mainland Europe in the future, but has no plans to go to the US. The existing network is centered around London, extending to most major towns and cities in the UK. McGregor said that if a client requests the service, but cannot have access to the network owing to its location, Fibernet would extend the network to serve that area.