A-Bone touted as Asian e-commerce platform

The A-Bone, an Internet backbone network that directly links the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, is seen by its backer as becoming the platform for electronic commerce in Asia.

"An Asia business platform is our final goal with A-Bone," said Akio Zama, general manager of sales and marketing for Asia Internet Holding (AIH). "We want it to be the super multimedia Asia platform or SMAP."

Zama said that an authentication and billing system will be built into the A-bone infrastructure.

The A-Bone was established by Japan-based Asia Internet Holding in 1996.

Zama said that as of November last year, A-bone had established Internet lines (T1 class or above) among nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, as well as the US. Connections to China, India, Vietnam, Australia, and Europe will be established soon.

The A-Bone also has a 245Mbps link to the US, which is provided by Internet Initiative Japan, a shareholder of AIH. Zama said that A-bone offers high-speed, advanced quality Internet access services for corporate users and Internet service providers (ISPs). A-Bone also provides roaming services which enable users to have domestic dial-up accessibility to the Internet from A-Bone-connected countries.

Unlike other networks which have a bilateral interconnection (one connectivity only for two countries), Zama said that the A-Bone is a multi-access network which allows one connectivity for all countries.

Zama added that an A-Bone route has direct connectivity between ISPs in Asia -- allowing for fast communications. Zama said that A-Bone is suitable for applications such as Internet phone, online dealing, computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), virtual private networks (VPNs), and intranet applications.

"If you want to do business connectivity in Asia, then A-bone is ideal," said Reuben Ravago, chief operating officer at Infocom Technologies. Infocom is the A-Bone remote node operator centre (RNOC) for the Philippines.

The country's connection to the A-bone is via an E-1 line, which Ravago said will be upgraded this year.

Infocom's own Internet network infrastructure is connected to the node, linking all of the ISP's 27,000 users and 13 resellers to the Asian backbone. "Infocom subscribers automatically have A-Bone connectivity," said Ravago.

Ravago said other ISPs and companies that wish to connect to the A-Bone will have to coordinate with Infocom.

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