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Focal Communications Launches VoDSL Service

Responding to the anticipated growth in the Voice over Digital Subscriber Line (VoDSL) market, broadband services provider Focal Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: FCOM) launched today its new VoDSL service in Chicago. The company will introduce the new service in selected markets in the future.

The VoDSL market is viewed optimisitcally by industry analysts because the technology allows CLECs and ISPs to create tailored bundles of both data and voice services that meet the full range of customer needs. For ISPs, this means new revenue streams.

The service has application for large companies with multiple branch offices like banks or real estate companies that demand both voice and broadband services. Using VoDSL, each branch office sends its voice and data traffic over a single DSL connection to Focal, who then routes the data traffic to the company's corporate LAN.

Entering VoDSL at this time gives Focal early-mover status, with the promise of establishing a leading market share.

"Focal is one of a few national providers that owns both a data and voice network, which gives us the unique ability to add multiple channels of voice on our DSL offering," said Michael Mael, president of Focal Data Communications, a business unit of Focal. "We've combined our expertise in voice circuit switching with our state-of-the-art DSL network to deliver our customers lightening fast Internet service and great quality voice over a single existing copper line."

Focal is also utilizing next generation integrated access devices (NG-IADs) offered by Dallas-based Efficient Networks, Inc., a provider of broadband digital subscriber line solutions, in the launch of its VoDSL service.

"We selected the Efficient's NG-IAD for our launch because it offered the best combination of voice quality and robust data routing functionality. And, when we tested it in our labs, it proved to be reliable," said Michael Mael, president of Focal Data Communications, a business unit of Focal.

Efficient's NG-IADs provide a full complement of data routing features, include firewall security, network address translation capabilities, and support for DHCP -- all of which enable end-users to securely link multiple PCs located behind the router to the Internet over a single DSL connection.

"Focal's selection of Efficient NG-IADs offers a clear indication that voice over DSL is a technology whose time has come," said Peter Bourne, vice president and general manager of integrated access for Efficient. "By offering both data and voice services over a single copper line, ISPs can now enable small businesses to leverage their single telephone line and their local area network infrastructure into a powerful and cost-effective communications solution that meets all of their business requirements."



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