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Highmark’s Telecom Upgrade

Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee expands its relationship with TelCove for construction of SONET rings and administrative support.

Independent Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee Highmark (Pittsburgh; $75.7 million in net income) significantly expanded a six-year relationship with telecommunications services provider TelCove through a multiyear, multimillion dollar contract. The project is set to begin in the first quarter of 2005.

The agreement calls for the building of a private local synchronous optical network (SONET) ring to connect nine locations and the construction of a second ring that will connect three of Highmark's nodes to TelCove's fiber optic long-haul network. Additionally, TelCove will provide 139 T1 lines, 12 DS-3s and seven OC-3s. Four fiber channel connections are capable of transmitting computer services at up to 2 GB per second and are designed to interconnect peripherals, mass storage systems, imaging and archiving systems, mainframes, workstations and other high-speed devices, according to TelCove.

Highmark's objective in signing the deal is to improve its overall network capacity and link to new locations. "An upgraded SONET ring will include a new data center that we're building about 30 miles away from our current data center, and that will include a DWDM connection that we'll use for disaster recovery and business continuity," says Alan Lebiednik, director of information systems, Highmark.

Highmark's relationship with TelCove began when the carrier purchased a SONET ring from AT&T (Basking Ridge, N.J.); TelCove was tapped to administer the network during the past six years. Though Highmark accepted bids from several providers, TelCove's track record was a significant factor in expanding the relationship. "We saw the value that they added as far as availability, performance and problem-determination, and through that we were able to expand to other business with them." Lebiednik says.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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