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Level 3 Lasers Capable of Big Bandwidth Bursts

Level 3 Communications Inc. Tuesday introduced a laser-based global wavelength service designed to reduce networks costs and accelerate time to market for Internet service providers and telecommunications carriers.

Level 3's wavelength service offers bandwidth capacity on a per dollar basis to improve provisioning times, so service providers can provide clients enhanced delivery data, video and voice services without delay.

Wavelength technology transmits digital information through fiber-optic cables using lasers. Level 3 uses a laser burst to provide individual wavelengths is known as dense wavelength division multiplexing.

DWDM incorporates lasers and optical switching to boost Level 3's bandwidth capacity by increasing the number of different wavelengths, or frequencies of invisible infrared light, that a single strand of existing fiber can carry. In effect, the laser wave process transforms a single optic fiber into multiple, virtual fibers.

Melodie Reagan, Level 3 senior vice president of global transport services, said the service is a unique value for communications service providers and that the technology dramatically enhances Level 3's transport services portfolio.

"Our global wavelength service can be deployed quickly and in many situations offer greater bandwidth flexibility and efficiency than other transmission options," Reagan said. "As a result, ISPs, carriers and other high-bandwidth customers can enjoy significant cost, time to market and bandwidth management advantages."

"The technology also enabling us to enhance the utilization of our continuously upgradeable, multi-conduit network," Reagan added.

Level 3's laser transport service is positioned between its private line and dark fiber transport lines. High-bandwidth users on private line services can reduce their transmission costs by taking advantage of the bandwidth efficiencies that the technology offers.

The laser technology is oversold much in the same manner than dial-up services are sold by ISPs. Because there is little likelihood that all of Level 3's clients would require bandwidth bursts during the same time frame, the technology attains an economy of scale for fiber optics.

Clients fixed-line connections with ATM switches are networked to avoid overloading Level 3's infrastructure since its routers are programmed to transport bandwidth at light speeds.

Mission critical communication services and extreme e-commerce demands can be fed during times when other company's goods and services have slowed down to a standstill on the Net.

The first phase of Level 3's inter-city wavelength service is available between Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth, Texas.

Level 3 plans to rollout subsequent phases of wavelength service that will connect more than 60 U.S. and European markets as additional network segments become operational later in the year.