RealTime IT News

Sprint, Covad to Unveil Biz DSL Deal

Less than a year after scrapping its Sprint ION and Broadband Direct high-speed Internet services, Sprint has inked a wholesale third-party deal with Covad Communications to jump into the enterprise DSL business.

According to internal documents leaked on the Web Friday, the Sprint Business DSL service will be rolled out on August 12 by using Santa Clara, Calif.-based Covad Communications as the third-party DSL access provider.

The deal, which had been the subject of speculation of several months, gets Sprint back into the thick of the high-speed ISP race, after technical problems and massive overheads forced the cancellation of its enterprise high-speed services last year.

A powerpoint presentation posted at Broadband Reports outlined details of the Sprint/Covad deal, which lets Sprint offer ADSL , IDSL and SDSL services to enterprise customers.

"The Covad agreement (will) improve Sprint's DSL footprint by nearly 1000 new central offices, while expanding access speeds and capabilities of the DSL portfolio. Expanded CO coverage gives offers customers wide array of Sprint branded, value-add products and services that ride on DSL access," according to the document.

A spokesperson for Sprint declined comment Friday, noting that the document was meant for internal uses only. Sources told internetnews.com that lawyers from Sprint had contacted Broadband Reports to demand the document be removed.

In the document, Sprint is promising the ADSL service would over downstream/upstream speeds up to 1.5M/384k (routed) with static IP addressing. All three DSL options would come with value-added services like network-based IP VPN and networked-based firewall protection.

When it goes to market, the ADSL service will be priced between $129 and $149 per year while the IDSL/SDSL packages have been fixed between $133.99 and $149.99 per year. One-time activation, equipment and installation charges will also apply, according to the document.

In the future, Sprint plans to roll out Frame Relay over DSL in the fourth quarter this year along with improved installation SLAs and performance reporting services.

Specifics of the deal call for Sprint to purchase wholesale services from Covad, allowing the telecommunications firm to own the customer. Sprint would be responsible for billion and providing technical support and assigning of IP addresses.

Covad, which emerged from bankruptcy protection last December, gets to provide the product and service installations. The company, which specializes in business-grade services under the TeleSpeed brand and two consumer-grade service offerings, would provide Sprint-branded self-install and 2nd tier support for service assurance.

The deal comes at an interesting time for Sprint, which has struggled to compete with powerhouses like Verizon and AT&T Broadband in the enterprise DSL space.

Earlier this month, the Sprint Group exited the data business in a move aimed at reducing costs and streamlining operations. The decision effectively erased more than 1,000 jobs. Sprint said the decision to drop DSL from the L-D group comes only one year after a big marketing push by the division to move into the high-speed data arena. Sprint officials say the DSL service offered in Sprint's business group was unaffected by the announcement.

Last November, Sprint spent $1.1 billion on a deal to let Nortel Networks upgrade their local telephone network to provide asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) packet switching technology, opening up the door to high-quality, data-reliant Internet services.