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Cable & Wireless Unveils New FSP

Cable & Wireless a-Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of the UK communications giant , will launch Tuesday (Sept 26) as a full-service provider of e-business solutions.

The company, formed by a strategic alliance with Compaq in November 1999 and Microsoft in June 2000, will begin by offering its a-Workspace package to small to medium businesses in the US, Jeremy Thompson, C&W a-Services president, said in a press conference today.

The a-Workspace is a complete "business in a box" that includes a virtual desktop for personalized applications and data, including 800MB of online storage, Microsoft Office 2000 and Exchange 2000. The package also includes a Compaq iPaq Internet appliance with network connectivity and unlimited Internet access. The bundle starts at $169 per user per month with Office 2000, increasing to $189 with Exchange.

The a-Workspace will be offered in the UK by October 31, and in Australia, via C&W Optus, by the end of the year, Thompson said. Future planned software offerings include back office, front office, e-commerce and vertical applications.

C&W's target market is the small to mid-sized company with 10 to 1,000 employees. This market is most in need of the a-Services offerings because of their limited IT resources and staff, access to e-commerce capabilities, and smaller budgets.

"Our customers will be able to focus on their business and their customers," said Steve Roberts, C&W VP North America.

C&W hopes to implement this program with a "global reach and a local touch" through a 4-tiered channel business partner program. Registered Referral Partners will provide leads to a-Services, which will be followed up by a Solution Provider or Authorized Seller. Authorized Sellers sell a-Services through the order process, while outsourcing the delivery. Accredited Delivery Partners take the transaction from that point and perform site assessments, remediation, migration, installation and training. The top-level partners are the a-Solutions Provider, which follow leads, sell, deliver and service a-Services directly to the end user.

A number of channel partners and customers have been using a-Services in a beta testing format, and initial response is positive. "We have over 100 channel partners, and that number is growing daily," Roberts said. "We've been incredibly pleased by the response from our partners and the end user community."



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