Until recently, FCBT was using a terrestrial network to communicate with the FLBAs, most of which are in rural areas.
Further, if a network outage occurred, FCBT had to rely on several different phone companies to handle the problem, which decreased network availability.
FCBT chose AT&T Skynet Clearlink Service provided by AT&T Tridom because VSATs (very small aperture terminals) are generally more cost-effective, easier to install, more reliable and more flexible than terrestrial alternatives.
"Our satellite dishes are not fixed in place," says Mike Jay, communications analyst for FCBT. "If you move to another building, you can take it with you."
"No one can just buy a dish, start receiving FCBT data and decipher loans," Jay says.
Today, FCBT's data communications system allows 52 remote offices to access the bank's general ledger and loan databases, which are maintained on the AS/400 in Austin.
FCBT uses either 1.8- or 2.4-meter VSAT antennas, depending on geographic location.
The hub communicates with FCBT's host through the interface located at the bank's computer center.
It also provides protocol conversion and gateway services between FCBT's host and the Clearlink network, just as the VSAT provides protocol conversion and gateway services between remote sites and the Clearlink network.