Flower Shop Chain Picks DSL-Based WAN

Though it wasn't in time for Mother's Day, a Boston-area chain of flower shops is replacing its dial-up networking connections with a DSL-based wide-area network from a local broadband provider.

KaBloom Ltd. in Woburn, Massachusetts, has arranged to have the WAN up and running next month through Digital Broadband Communications Inc. (DBC) in Waltham, Mass. The WAN will connect 11 of KaBloom's 14 stores in Greater Boston that have Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) access.

The network will allow stores to quickly send their daily information to headquarters and to receive orders immediately from the company's phone center.

It will also provide continuous access to e-mail, which is used to send orders from the company's Web site.

KaBloom's information technology manager, David Yashar, said last week that neither the technology nor the configuration is unique, but KaBloom, like many businesses its size, is just looking for a reliable backbone to keep information flowing in real time.

"We're trying to not bite off more than we can do to start," Yashar said.

KaBloom now uses a dial-up connection to process orders by e-mail through the Internet.

"The Internet is not reliable. It would take a while. We didn't have the reliability that things were going back and forth," Yashar said, because each store has to dial in to upload and download order information.

Reliability and Focus

Reliability is one reason KaBloom hired DBC, which will provide the 144K-bps Symmetrical DSL service, said Yashar. "[Uptime] could be whatever it is, at the end of the day," he said. "What's really important is, how fast are they going to be able to fix it?"

KaBloom headquarters will connect to DBC via a T1 line.

Christine Heckart, an analyst at Tulsa, Oklahoma-based TeleChoice Inc., said DBC's size and regional focus are what make it attractive to users such as KaBloom.

DBC markets voice, data and Internet services to businesses and large enterprises via its facilities-based Digital Broadband Communications Network and Asynchronous Transfer Mode-based network backbone.

The regional focus was an important factor, Yashar said, because DBC is focused on New England, and KaBloom is looking to expand in that area.

That regional niche is also a plus for DBC in pricing, according to Heckart"This kind of network almost anyone can do," said Heckart. But DBC is just small enough to set up regional networks and avoid the regulations that govern telephone companies, she added.

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