UUNet to guarantee ISP quality

Come mid-July, the ISP, which only began operations here in March, will be tagging a service level agreement (SLA) on top of its internet access packages. The SLA, which comes at no extra charge, promises among other things 100 percent availability, guaranteed maximum latencies, and at least 15 minutes notification prior to any outages.

"We are setting a new benchmark in service guarantees," said Chan Kin Hung, managing director, UUNet Singapore. "As a new player in Singapore, we have to establish ourselves and the SLA is one area we want to differentiate ourselves."

While SLAs themselves are not new, UUNet claims that the breadth of its coverage is unprecedented.

"Many offer SLAs (for traffic) to the United States, but they don't consider routing within the United States, which is most important," said Chan. "No one is doing anything on proactive notification as well."

UUNet guarantees less than 300 milliseconds (ms) roundtrip latency to the US, the time it takes for a packet of information to reach the continent and back. Latency guarantees within the US or Europe is less than 80ms.

In addition, the company also guarantees installation of its leased line services within 40 days.

The company - which is focused on providing leased lines, virtual private network, and dial-up services to corporations as well as other ISPs - will pay back its customers, in credit, if it fails to deliver on any of its promises.

UUNet's ability to offer such SLAs stems from the infrastructure of its parent company, WorldCom, a global telecommunications company.

"Our strength is that we own most of the network ourselves," said Chan, who claims most of the local ISPs as UUNet's customers.

Useful promise One local company which has found UUNet's SLA compelling is Iaspire.com, an application service provider, and a services-based operator.

"One of the prime reasons we chose UUNet was because of this SLA," said Wong Wai Meng, chief operating officer, Iaspire.com. "It is also one of the better ISPs within the United States."

When the SLA is officially announced, Iaspire.com plans to offer an SLA of its own to its customers, said Wong.

UUNet runs a 55M-bit per second (bps) pipe to the United States with 10M bps to Hong Kong. It has over 70,000 customers and more than 2,000 points of presence.

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Gerald Wee

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