Carrying calls into the chaotic American market has always been a challenge for telcos in other parts of the world. A Chicago-based company hopes it has solved the problem with the introduction of a product that permits easy carriage while retaining telco branding. Universal Access Inc. recently unveiled its UA·Link service, which allows non-American carriers into the United States and finds the easiest access routes. Since the United States has several small telcos without a national footprint, other companies-sometimes referred to as Post Tele-phone and Telegraph (PTT) firms-have had to cobble together networks to carry their calls. Universal Access is able to put together a grid while permitting the international telco to keep its name front and centre. The American firm deals with incumbents, competitors, interexchange carriers and municipal utels. "For the PTT or the foreign carrier that’s trying to enter the U.S. to service an enterprise customer in one location, multiple locations, at the end of the day, they really don’t care what the different carriers they’re using to connect are," Cyrus Bamji, chief marketing officer for Universal Access explains to Network Letter. "Whether it be CLEC or ILEC or IXC or for that matter a muni." The seven-year-old company has longstanding agreements with BCE Inc., Teleglobe and Telus Corp. to carry their traffic into the American market. Executives with the firm say it was the experience with the Canadian telcos that helped it develop UA·Link. Universal Access’s CEO says the new service has streamlined the process of connecting phone calls. "In the past when a BCE or someone else was moving traffic to the States, they’d drop it at the border and it would get picked up by another carrier," Randy Lay tells NL. "The solution we’ve been able to give BCE and others is by using our infrastructure, we have some colo and connectivity sites where all the major carriers have built in, in all of the first tier markets in the United States. By putting a solution together, we allow them to take traffic, manage it through our series of networks and then connect to their customers. It’s cost savings for them and gives them greater speed to market." Another advantage is that the American carriers don’t know whose signals they are transporting. This makes it harder for large U.S. telcos to poach enterprise customers from international carriers. Those carriers can then claim branding rights. "They’re able to say, ‘Telus is providing you with this end-to-end solution’ irregardless of whose network it is," Bamji adds.UA does not restrict itself to getting international carriers into the United States. It is also active in helping American telcos carry their calls into other parts of the world. The relationship Canadian telcos have in Asia have proved beneficial. "There are several that have significant presences in the People’s Republic of China, that’s also of great interest to us," Lay continues, "because it allows us to put together an end-to-end solution that’s coming to us from Chinese entities that are trying to move traffic between the States and find the best and most efficient way to get it back to their home country. So there is business there for both of us." Although Universal Access has concentrated on the Canadian ILEC market so far, it expects to widen its scope soon. Bamji says a new marketing push will see the American company reaching out to CLECs here and in other nations.