AT&T Picks Lucent for Broadband Wireless Network

BOSTON (07/19/2000) - On the heels of AT&T Corp.'s announcement that it will offer residential fixed wireless broadband service to four new cities, the company awarded Lucent Technologies Inc. Wednesday a US$250 million a two-year contract to build and maintain the voice and data infrastructure for AT&T's new fixed wireless network, according to a joint statement.

The contract covers the first phase of the construction of the nationwide network, with which AT&T expects to provide service to 15 million homes in 40 markets. The service, available to single-family residences with plans to expand into the small business market, allows up to five computers to be connected to the broadband network simultaneously and offers four voice lines with assorted calling features, according to a separate statement issued by AT&T.

AT&T originally offered the fixed wireless broadband service to customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and plans for expansion into San Diego in September, the first of the new markets to come online, according to AT&T. Anchorage, Houston and Los Angeles will follow.

By transmitting voice and data signals between base stations and installing an antenna on the exterior of a customer's home, AT&T's fixed wireless networking is similar to cellular phone technology, AT&T said, because a line of sight between the base station and the antenna is not needed. To receive service, the antenna is connected to a digital control unit in the customer's home via wire, which is then connected to an existing inside phone line and AC power supply outlet.

Lucent, as the primary data networking supplier, will provide, through its NetworkCare Professional Services group, services such as site acquisition, program management, installation, engineering, testing, integration and maintenance, according to the joint statement.

The primary data service nodes, located in central offices, will enable AT&T Wireless to accept, authenticate, authorize, bill, manage and route customer data traffic, the companies said. The main components of the nodes are Lucent's AccessPoint 1000 Multiservice IP Access routers and Spring Tide Networks Inc.'s IP Service Switch 5000, which is offered by Lucent through an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) agreement with Spring Tide Networks.

This switch, according to the companies, provides subscriber management and IP (Internet protocol) functions, in addition to accounting, provisioning and management services.

So that customers may access their information and personal accounts over corporate, financial and other networks that require a dialup connection, Lucent will provide an APX 8000 Multiservice Access Switch in the data service nodes, the companies said. For voice services, Lucent is including its 5ESS Switching system.

The companies said that this is the first nationwide network to provide local fixed wireless voice and high-speed data communications services to residential customers.

AT&T, based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, can be reached at +1-908-221-2000 or http://www.att.com/. Lucent, in Murray Hill, New Jersey, can be reached at +1-908-582-5800 or http://www.lucent.com/.

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