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RealTime IT News

Sprint Offers ION To Small Businesses

Sprint Business announced Monday the launch of its all-in-one voice and data service product to the small business -- nearly two years overdue -- in 10 cities nationwide.

The Integrated On-Demand Network and business DSL service, until now a service available only to large enterprise companies, gives small businesses the opportunity to roll up its telephone and Internet services on one line, in one convenient bill.

For local businesses, this means getting services normally reserved for the companies that have thousands of employees -- services like videoconferencing and multiple phone lines.

Todd Townsend, Sprint assistant vice president of small business marketing, said small businesses need the convenience of one company providing all its telecommunication needs.

"Unlike large businesses that frequently integrate and use advanced technologies, for small businesses, integrating advanced communication technology into their everyday business activity can be complex and time-consuming," Townsend said. "At Sprint, we have a dedicated sales force that is trained to help small business customers identify and select the business tools they need to simplify their communication and gain a competitive advantage."

For the time being, Sprint's business-class Internet service runs off asymmetric digital subscriber line, a high-speed option particularly unsuited to advanced Internet applications like videoconferencing and virtual private networking.

It's ADSL service promises speeds up to 1.5 Mbps downloads and 384 Kbps uploads, depending on the businesses distance from the central office. To sweeten the pot, Sprint is throwing in a free ADSL modem kit, free installation, one static IP address, five 6MB Web pages, one personal start page and a 90-day money back guarantee.

Until Monday, Sprint has been offering a variety of options to small businesses in the U.S., including frame relay and fixed wireless Internet connectivity. This is the first time, however, that the company has offered its local and long distance telephone services over the same line.

Sprint ION to the small business was originally slated for U.S. deployment in mid-1999. Slow acceptance by large enterprise companies and financial difficulties has slowed the company's rollout date, however.

The program is available in the following cities: Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, TX; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and Seattle, WA.

Sprint expects to reach 86 markets by the end of 2002.