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DSL.net Scores Affiliate Touchdown

DSL.net scored a touchdown with its partnership to IBM Corp. providing digital subscriber line connectivity to small e-business customers.

The deal, announced Wednesday, lets IBM sell high-speed Internet access along with its Small Business WebConnections, geared to transform bricks-and-mortar companies into successful application service providers.

David Struwas, DSL.net president and chief executive officer, said his company's partnership to IBM brings a complete package to the customer.

"DSL.net is pleased to partner with IBM to help small businesses grow into e-businesses," Struwas said. "DSL.net and IBM share a philosophy of providing complete, packaged technology solutions to small businesses, allowing them to exploit the Internet to maximum competitive advantage while at the same time reducing their IT and administrative burdens. Our broadband services are the perfect addition to the IBM Small Business WebConnections program, and allow IBM to offer a turnkey solution to the problem of fast, cost-effective Internet access for small businesses. This arrangement will expand the market opportunity for DSL.net."

IBM is offering DSL in five ranked classes from 128Kbps rates to 1Mbps, ranging in price from $219 to $669. And the fact that its connectivity services are now outsourced to DSL.net washes IBM's hands clean of any provisioning of its own.

DSL.net opened up shop in 1998 with a focused business plan to cater to the emerging ASP industry and small- to medium-sized businesses, with an emphasis on DSL coverage in cities with a population less than one million.

The ISP quickly expanded operations to its current coverage of 300 cities in 45 states around the U.S. Expansion was mainly through acquisition, as in the case of Minneapolis-based Vector Internet Services, Inc., which was assimilated in late May, and Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Tycho Networks Inc., in December, 1999.

Mike Braun, IBM Global Small Business general manager, said the partnership with DSL.net gives his company a chance to sell high-speed solutions in smaller cities, many of which don't have more than one DSL provider.

"DSL.net's strong, fast bandwidth coverage in secondary cities will enable many more small businesses to take full advantage of IBM's Small Business WebConnections service," Braun said. "Together, we will provide small business customers with the most comprehensive and easy-to-use offering to help them better harness the opportunities the Internet offers."

The Internet service provider touts its high-speed offerings including virtual private networking, local area networking, e-commerce consulting and Web hosting. DSL.net is even a card-carrying member of the ASP Industry Consortium.

The company's rapid expansion throughout the U.S. attracted the attention of Microsoft Corp. , which was looking to snare small- and mid-sized businesses to its MSN business portal. A $15 million investment paved the way to an agreement providing the co-branded MSN business portal to DSL.net business clients.