Verizon is has improved the reliability of its switched Ethernet service for business apps.

The company will add new features to its switched Ethernet LAN and Ethernet virtual private line services later this month. The services are mostly used for branch-office site-to-site communication. The service costs $900 to $1,000 per month for 10Mbit/s, seven times the bandwidth of a $400-per-month T1 line, says Mike Tighe, Verizon product manager.

Verizon will offer three levels of service:

  • Standard: For e-mail and Internet.
  • Priority: With throughput guarantees for CRM and ERP applications.
  • Real-Time: For voice and video.

For each class, Verizon is offering SLAs on data delivery, latency and jitter. Should Verizon not meet its SLA guarantees, users will get 20 percent off their next monthly bill.

Analysts say adding class-of-service will enable Verizon to make up revenue on the low price-per-bit of Ethernet. "What Verizon is trying to do is figure out exactly what combination of features and capabilities create an optimum Ethernet offering," says Thomas Nolle, president of consultancy CIMI. "There's a lot of interest in Ethernet right now among the enterprises, but it's predicated on there being a conspicuous cost advantage relative to the current access technologies."

Verizon could be the first incumbent carrier to offer Ethernet with three distinct classes of service. Among the RBOCs, BellSouth offers a premium Metro Ethernet service with guaranteed bandwidth minimums, bursting, virtual LAN stacking and SLAs. Qwest offers an ATM unspecified bit rate class-of-service for its LAN Switching Service, and 99.95 percent SLAs for its Metro Optical Ethernet offerings.

Verizon plans a number of other improvements to its Ethernet services and infrastructure over the next year. Virtual Private LAN Services should arrive next year, Tighe said, which will offer Ethernet LAN on a national scale.

Verizon also is scheduled to provide SONET-level access to switched Ethernet services late this year by adding IEEE 802.17 Resilient Packet Ring technology to its SONET rings.