Neotel has officially opened its doors and, with 40 customers already under its belt, yesterday announced its suite of enterprise products. Residential and consumer telephony and Internet services are expected to follow by March 2008. 

Since its inceptionin August last year, Neotel has built an advanced fibre optic network that links locations in metropolitan areas to provide next generation network services, bringing more value at lower cost.
“The shop is open,” says Ajay Pandey, MD of Neotel. “It’s been a year since we launched as an operating company, and we have been working flat out laying cables, installing equipment and setting up agreements that gives us a national fibre network. We now have physical layer access to over 10,000km of fibre optic cable, and built a set of high-performance services that are uniquely flexible.”
The enterprise product suite includes next-generation IP-based services.
NeoVPN, a Virtual Private Network, gives security and privacy equivalent to a private network, but at a dramatically lower cost and complexity. NeoVPN is a South African first in that it provides a completely flat, transparent, end-to-end secure IP network.
NeoVoice provides fixed multi-line voice connectivity with allocated public numbering (with portability from Telkom numbers if required), and for the first time South African customers can get conventional Primary Rate (ISDN) or IP-based SIP telephony from one provider.
NeoInternet provides high-performance corporate Internet access, and for the first time ever Neotel brings the Tier 1 global Internet into South Africa – its Point of Presence in Johannesburg provides one-hop access to global networks.
Neotel also provides traditional telecoms leased line services with its NeoLink and NeoLink Global products. NeoLink Global is unique in South Africa as Neotel customers connect on-net directly to international destinations via VSNL’s global network.
A major technology leap that Neotel is bringing to market is providing wide-area telecoms connections using Ethernet interfaces – the simple, low-cost, high speed interface that’s entirely familiar to anyone in networking. Apart from convenience, it also scales in convenient increments from 2Mbps to 1Gbps, in 2Mbps increments, rather than traditional TDM networks where you have to go in jumps of 2 to 34, to 45, to 155Mbps and then its multiples.
Neotel can also scale bandwidth up or down as customers require without interrupting service, to cater for growth or peak business periods. Ethernet interfaces are available on all Neotel products, including NeoVoice.
“We have brought these products to market incredibly quickly – from launch to full service offering in only a year," says Pandey. "When we launched in August last year we were ambitious in our roll-out – we have now established services in the major locations, and the roll-out is continuing in phases, adding Points of Presence all the time. We are trialling consumer services at the moment for voice and high speed Internet access, and once we’re satisfied that it’s ready for launch, we will make an announcement in early 2008,” added Pandey.
Neotel’s shareholders include the Tata Group of India, Transnet, Eskom, Nexus Connection, Communitel and Two Consortium. Neotel has built a proudly South African business where, together with its Black Economic Empowerment partner, Nexus Connection, it represents a broad constituency that allows the company to contribute to building a stronger nation and bridge the digital divide.