What Drives WAN Carrier Choice for Banks? Location, Location, Location!

Community banks utilize their WAN’s to transmit data to and from their branches and carry out daily functions in many areas. If you are a bank IT or operations manager, there is no more single important factor to WAN carrier choice than your bank’s physical addresses. Where your banks are located will dictate which carriers can serve your bank’s WAN needs.

When carriers have to go outside the footprint of their own network, they have to pay other carriers to get the circuit to the off-net sites (where they don’t own the underlying circuit). Using an underlying carrier to get to an off-net site is commonly referred to as Type II access. In scenarios where a carrier has to use Type II access, not only does the chosen carrier make a profit margin on the circuit, but the underlying carrier makes their profit margins as well – driving up costs for the institution.

Most banks have multiple physical locations, so the trick is to select a carrier once you understand all the available carrier options within your bank’s geography. Here are a few options to consider when choosing your bank’s network carrier:

Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs)

ILECs are a definite consideration when choosing the best carrier for your bank. ILECs have the most extensive and established networks and own the vast majority of the outside physical plant (i.e., copper, fiber, etc.) within their territories.

The ILECs are essentially the remnants of RBOCs (Regional Bell Operating Companies), and enjoy a large portion of market share within their respective territories. Examples of ILECs include AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink.

ILEC Territory Example: Florida

See below for a map of the ILEC territories in the state of Florida:

Florida Map

Image from Geo Results

The various ILECs in Florida have territories that are not contiguous and are separated at times by great distances. These territories are also in a constant state of flux due to merger and acquisition. For example, Frontier recently purchased assets from Verizon in the Tampa and surrounding area.)

Tip: ILECs compete well when the vast majority of your bank’s locations fall within their respective territories.

CLECs Should Be Considered As Well

Banks should also consider carriers other than ILECs that essentially offer the same services (MPLS, Internet access, etc.). Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) compete with ILECs and often have better re-seller arrangements. CLECs are typically not as expensive when they have to use Type II access for your banks that fall outside their territories. Birch, Airespring, and Level 3 would all be examples of a CLEC.

Tip: There are many scenarios when a bank’s geography does not fit nicely with an ILEC’s footprint. There are definitely scenarios where CLECs are a better consideration for your bank’s network.

blueharbor bank Case Study

Read how blueharbor bank deployed their new WAN

blueharbor bank needed to improve their internet bandwidth and phone line capacity while minimizing network downtime to better connect all its branches.

View Case Study

Tip of the Iceberg – Even More Choices

Community Banks should also consider cable companies like Charter and Comcast. In some scenarios, they can provide an extremely cost-effective solution. There are also power company network providers and even small independent carriers.

Engineering Best Practice

Understanding carrier options that are presented by your bank’s physical locations is essential in maintaining a cost-effective solution. Carrier territories are in a constant state of flux, and banks need to fully understand their options to make a sound decision. Let Safe Systems help you with all the research, because when multiple carriers compete to be your bank’s network provider, you win.

Don’t Go It Alone!

IT budgets are shrinking, and IT staff is focused on other priority projects. Safe Systems has seasoned WAN and telecom engineers that will guide you throughout the process of choosing WAN carriers that best suit your bank’s unique needs. There are many choices and we can ensure you get the right solution for your bank’s unique technology needs. Explore WAN Communications services now.

7 Reasons Why Small Community Banks Should Outsource IT Network Management

7 Reasons Why Small Community Banks Should Outsource IT Network Management

This is a free white paper that addresses key issues smaller financial institutions face when managing their networks and the benefits of outsourcing these tasks to a provider who offers IT network management solutions exclusively tailored for community banks.

7 Reasons Why Small Community Banks Should Outsource IT Network Management

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