Sprint Throws Big Dollars into Dial-Up Net

FRAMINGHAM (08/18/2000) - Sprint Corp. announced this week that it is investing US$200 million to revamp its dial-up Internet access network, a move that's expected to make the network easier to access for customers and more manageable for Sprint.

The company, which currently covers about 80 percent of the United States with dial-up Internet access services, says the upgrade will boost availability to 90 percent of the country. In addition, Sprint says the Lucent Technologies Inc. equipment it is swapping for its old 3Com Corp. gear can handle many more calls, which should enable Sprint to consolidate its points of presence, now numbering around 300.

"Lucent's gear has about 10 times more density than what we have in the network now," says Mike Grubbs, director of product management for Sprint Internet. And Lucent is expected to double, or even quadruple, the capacity of the APX 8000 Multiservice Access Switches that Sprint is rolling out, he says.

The APX 8000s, along with Lucent's Softswitch Internet Call Diversion and NavisAccess software, will handle network provisioning, reporting and management of the dial-up IP network.

Sprint is outsourcing the entire project to Lucent's NetworkCare Professional Services group, which should have most of the upgrade done by mid-2001. In the second half of next year, Sprint will concentrate on migrating existing customers to the new system, Grubbs says.

While Sprint offers dial-up Internet access and VPN services to corporate customers, the carrier generates most of its dial-up access revenue from selling to other service providers. According to IDC, a Framingham, Mass., consulting firm, Sprint's business Internet service revenue totaled $180 million in 1999, while its wholesale offerings accounted for $420 million in revenue.

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