Cloud and OTT players driving growth for routes into Canada

Cloud and OTT players driving growth for routes into Canada

Adel Bazerghi, president of BCE Nexxia, talks to Alan Burkitt-Gray about carrying traffic from international partners into Canada. Most of the population lives close to the US border, but the network has to reach the remotest points in Canada.

What is the role of BCE Nexxia within Bell Canada, and what does the group offer your partners and customers?

BCE Nexxia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bell Canada. We are the preferred partner for US and international customers that want network access into Canada. Our customers want cost-effective ways to access their customers in metro areas of Canada or even more remote areas. Our network spans coast to coast to coast – that’s east, west and north. 

The US is a very important market for us, both for US enterprises needing to extend their reach into Canada as well as Canadian enterprises needing to extend their reach into the US and other countries.

Our US meet me points are located in Seattle, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis and Ashburn, Virginia. They serve as convenient, cost-effective gateways into Canada and provide cross connection into each location. Our US network also includes a submarine cable between Seattle and Vancouver.

How are you expanding your network, in Canada or the US? 

Our business is built on our network, the largest in Canada. We have 5.5 million kilometres of fibre over 75,000km of routes, and we link to more than 33 carrier hotels and data centres across North America. The markets in the US and Canada are very similar – because the two economies are so interlinked. But we have one-tenth of the US population and a huge land size. We invest more than $3 billion yearly in R&D and network expansion.

Our goal is to be recognised as Canada’s leading communications company. Our network already reaches the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and we are constantly investing in our network. 

Where are you expanding in particular?

We plan to expand our Ethernet and IP VPN footprint across Canada. We are in the second year of our $20 billion fibre investment. That allows us to serve our customers better. 

What are the main factors driving growth for you? 

Growth is driven primarily by the rise in data transmission. We see growth in video – and all the OTT (over-the-top) players.

There is growth in traffic in video gaming, and we see expansion of cloud and access to public and private cloud. 

How are you handling the move to virtualisation?

We’re transforming so that we have more of a software-defined network. Data centres are becoming part of the network and part of the software-defined network. 

We are taking a lot of intelligence and moving it to the edge of the network, with software-defined firewalls and software-defined customer equipment. We call it Network 3.0: if you look at the networks a lot of intelligence is going to the edge. 

How do you stay close to your clients? 

From sales and technical teams through our delivery and service groups, as a collective we are focused on building and developing great client relationships to better understand their business need and to ensure we consistently deliver products and services that help them drive success today and in the future. 

Our clients are from different industries; however, they face similar challenges and levels of complexity in deploying their support networks. If we evolve to address these needs, we are in a better position to help them. 

What are the biggest challenges that you face?

Demand for traditional voice and data services is declining as customers move to IP. That’s why we invest in IP services, in client premises and hosted solutions.

The cost of existing technology makes it difficult to accelerate the evolution to new services, but it will happen. 

There is increased competition. Some of our clients have become competitors and we have new entrants. With the emergence of the OTT players and cloud computing, it’s making sure we have the right talent to address new services – and making sure we stay at the forefront. 

We’re also very lucky in Canada: we attract a lot of talent from abroad and we have some of the best universities in the world to develop talent.