Band(width) on the run at eSwitch

Online trading in telecommunications bandwidth came to Australia this week with the launch of eSwitch, the nation's first web-based clearing house for buyers and sellers of online time.

Until now, bandwidth trading in this country was conducted on a one-to-one, case-by-case basis involving laborious negotiations, time delays and high costs.

Australian-owned eSwitch yesterday launched a neutral spot market, eSwitch.com.au, where sellers (typically carriers) and buyers (typically service providers) can make deals via anonymous offers and bids, based on current wholesale market prices. Standardised contracts and technical standards will streamline the process further. eSwitch backs its web-based trading floor with "eSwitch exchanges", which physically connect the buyers' and sellers' networks to provide immediate delivery of purchased bandwidth.

Participation in the eSwitch marketplace is free, with applicants only required to register their details on the website and to be connected to the eSwitch exchange. eSwitch then charges commissions of 4 per cent to sellers and 6 per cent to buyers.

Initially, eSwitch is offering trading in long-distance voice telephony minutes. Later this year, the service will be expanded to include other kinds of bandwidth trading, including IP/data, point-to-point capacity, recruitment and co-location facilities. According to co-founder and marketing director Marco Dandolo, a number of telecommunications companies are already on board and eSwitch is actively seeking new traders.eSwitch is a privately owned Australian company. Its principals, Nicholas Haddad, Marco Dandolo, Anthony Glenning and Frank Stillone, have previously worked in major telecommunications players such as Ericsson, Lucent, ERG, Sun, Strategic Decisions Group and Total Communications Infrastructure.

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