Birch Telecom Selects Harris for Network Management

September 22, 1998
Melbourne, Florida; - - Harris Corporation today announced that it has been selected byBirch Telecom, a Kansas City-based competitive provider of local telecommunications services to residential andbusiness customers, to provide advanced network management services in support of Birch Telecom's rapidexpansion.

With a vision to foster competition in local service, Birch Telecom launched its local service in Kansas City in March1998. Its goal is to bring local competition to small cities throughout Missouri and Kansas, including St. Joseph,Wichita and Topeka. By leasing fiber from telecommunications and cable companies, a strategy that distinguished itfrom other local competitors who spent months laying fiber before offering service, Birch was able to offer servicequickly and cost-effectively. Now, as a result of its explosive growth in that market, Birch is migrating to its ownfacilities-based network using Lucent's 5ESS switch technology. This prompted the company to identify a versatilenetwork management platform that can manage its switches, plus the diverse network elements planned for thefuture.

Birch conducted a comprehensive evaluation of available market tools, and the HNM platform proved to be the mostscaleable, cost-effective and functional to satisfy its current and growing network requirements. The Harris systemwill allow Birch to monitor and manage their Lucent switches, Tellabs DACs and a variety of channel banks fromdifferent manufacturers. HNM offers Birch Telecom a single network management capability for remote access tothese network points, resulting in more detailed trouble reporting information, quicker response times, and astreamlined operational staff and budget. Birch will use several HNM applications, including Call Reporter for troubleticketing; ENM for managing its Lucent switch technology; and, DB Reporter for detailed reporting capabilities.

"We need ongoing intelligence about our network, if we are to succeed in this competitive market," said ColleenPekrul, enterprise modeler for Birch Telecom. "HNM gives us the visibility we need to predict potential trouble spotsin our network. We don't simply want to respond effectively to a trouble report – we want to prevent a trouble frombeing reported. That results in customer loyalty," added Pekrul.

Birch Telecom recently merged with Emporia, Kansas-based Valu-Line, a reseller of long distance service in Kansassince 1982, and local service since March of this year. Valu-Line had established billing and operational links withSouthwestern Bell, which complemented Birch's goal to offer service quickly. The HNM platform is particularly suitedfor CLECs, as it is quick to implement, offers the versatility necessary to monitor differing network technologies, andis easily modified and enhanced to grow with the CLEC network.

"We look forward to helping Birch Telecom offer a competitive solution," said Jim Odom, vice president of networkmanagement for Harris. "Efficient, ongoing network operations can be the critical factor that distinguishes onecompetitive provider from another. And in this age of competition, continuous knowledge of network status isessential," added Odom.

HNM is a comprehensive system of software and hardware, backed by the expertise needed to incorporate networkinformation into a complete management tool. HNM reduces the time and effort spent deciphering network alerts, andprovides the statistical information needed to make effective management decisions.

The capabilities, products, and applications at Harris Communications are focused in three markets - wirelesscommunications, broadcast communications, and communications products. Harris solutions include microwave andwireless loop systems; secure radios for defense, national law enforcement, and air traffic communications systems;analog and digital television and radio systems; enhanced services and digital switching platforms,telecommunication tools and test systems, and network management systems for worldwide communications service providers and broadcasters.

Harris Corporation (NSYE:HRS), with worldwide sales of $3.9 billion, is an international communications andelectronics company that provides a wide range of products and services such as wireless and personalcommunications, digital television (HDTV), health care information systems, automotive electronics, transportation,business information, defense communications and information, and Lanier office products.

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For additional information contact Harris Corporation at webmaster@harris.com.