NextLink to Provide DSL-Based Enterprise Solutions

SAN MATEO (05/02/2000) - Wireless networking company NextLink Communications Inc. announced that the company will offer DSL-based solutions.

NextLink so far has built its base of SME (small and midsize enterprise) customers by deploying fixed-wireless, local multipoint distribution services (LMDS), and fiber solutions.

By tacking on DSL options such as Internet access and Web hosting, NextLink is staking its claim as an ICP (integrated communications provider).

But industry watchers stressed the need for NextLink to move beyond integration rhetoric.

"Now, everybody is an ICP. But the question now is, will NextLink use its own facilities? The company does have this pending merger with Concentric, and that will be a benefit to their product line. But it does not obviate the need for more integration," said Tim McElgunn, an analyst at Stratecast Partners.

However, McElgunn said that by adding a DSL product suite, the company might have better luck digging its teeth into the SME market.

"With LMDS, I think there was always a bit of a technology sell for NextLink," McElgunn said.

In pushing its new suite of DSL data and voice solutions, NextLink is stressing the fact that services will be included on a single bill for customers.

Many of the services the company unveiled in its DSL announcement will also be offered by Concentric Network, which recently announced a merger agreement with NextLink.

NextLink also mentioned that it will use a data-overlay group of sales agents to work in tandem with the company's core-sales force to sell the new data products.

Having a data-savvy sales force will be key to the initiative, McElgunn said.

"Given whom they are targeting, it will be important to be able to effectively describe or understand what the SME communication needs are," he said.

NextLink Communications Inc., in McLean, Virginia, is at www.nextlink.com.

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