Frontier Communications plans to start providing messaging services this year to companies interested in outsourcing this operation, company officials announced today.
"IT managers and CIOs want to focus their time and resources on those applications that are strategic to whatever their business is," said Rolla Huff, Frontier's president and chief operating officer, during a teleconference this morning.
With this announcement, Frontier, a provider of data and voice transmission services, aims to expands its scope.
"We want to be a generator of data traffic not just a carrier of traffic," Huff said. Using Frontier's outsourced messaging service could be between 50 percent and 75 percent less expensive for companies than buying and maintaining an in-house system, Huff said.
Frontier will use messaging and directory software from the Sun-Netscape Alliance, a collaboration launched last year by Sun Microsystems Inc. and America Online Inc.'s Netscape division to provide software for electronic commerce and other Internet operations.
Frontier also will use the Webtop remote access software from the Sun-Netscape Alliance and hardware from Sun.
"Outsourcing is the one trend that can level the playing field for companies competing in ... the Internet economy. Businesses will no longer need to budget for endless rounds of software upgrades," said Stuart Wells, senior vice president of infrastructure products at the Sun-Netscape Alliance.
Frontier also will provide collaboration, calendaring and unified messaging services after it launches its messaging service, officials said.
Frontier's messaging service will be able to support millions of simultaneous users and integrate with a customer's existing software and hardware because it is based on open standards, officials said.
The service will be available in the fourth quarter for Internet service providers (ISPs), and will be rolled out to other Frontier customers in the first half of 2000, Huff said.
Frontier plans to extend this service outside the U.S. once its pending merger with Global Crossing Ltd. is completed.
To distribute these services, Frontier will use its Optronics Network, which currently connects over 120 U.S. cities, and its Media Distribution Centers, which are data centers that provide service around the clock, officials said.