US West to Push DSL Nationwide

LAS VEGAS (05/12/2000) - US West Inc. is set to launch expanded digital subscriber line services outside its home territory, giving customers a new and potent option for buying DSL services.

The company is also working on ways to expand its services beyond simple Internet access. The company is in trials with Cisco Systems Inc. to develop voice-over-IP capabilities that could extend local and long-distance phone service to business customers over the same DSL link.

US West was the earliest and arguably the most aggressive regional Bell operating company to push DSL within its own region, showing it has the expertise and cash required to deploy the technology. Most other DSL competitive local exchange carriers are startups running on venture funding.

US West says it will start selling a set of new services designed for businesses in California immediately and plans to expand the services across the country beginning later this year.

The new services call for running DSL within business buildings to supply Internet access, starting in Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.

US West has plans to expand services into other states after its proposed merger with Qwest.

US West's services, announced at NetWorld+ Interop 2000 this week, parallel plans in the works by SBC Communications, which has promised to offer services in 30 cities outside its region. SBC made the promise as part of a deal with the Federal Communications Commission for approval to merge with RBOC Ameritech.

US West's and SBC's plans to offer DSL nationally are different. For example, to speed its deployment, SBC says it will in some cases resell services from other carriers. However, US West is willing to wait until it can control its own equipment all the way down to the actual wires that connect to customer sites. US West has no timetable except to roll out the California cities sometime this summer.

US West plans to install DSL in 350 switching offices owned by other RBOCs and backhaul customer data on local fiber networks being built by Qwest. The DSL deployment schedule will depend on the US West/ Qwest merger being completed, and on Qwest building the local fiber nets, says US West Chairman and CEO Sol Trujillo.

US West's plans call for a Smart Building program in which US West will sell high-speed services within commercial buildings. With a fiber link to the building, the company can use existing copper wiring inside to extend DSL Internet links to customer suites, says Steve Starliper, vice president and general manager of US West's national integration branch.

US West will also offer those customers Web design services, Web hosting and e-mail.

For customers who need higher bandwidth, US West will install fast Ethernet switches in buildings to give customers access up to 100M-bps, Starliper says.

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