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Dell Dials Deals With AT&T, Excite, SBC

In response to what it is said is customer demand for faster access to the Net, Dell Computer Corp. today announced a slew of deals with AT&T World Net Service, Excite Inc. and SBC Communications Inc., to provide Internet access applications on the desktop of Dell Dimensions PCs.

Under the agreements with AT&T and Excite which go into effect tomorrow, each individual Dell Dimension desktop personal computer will connect the customer to a personalized Excite start page, and also offer WorldNet's Internet access service. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The Dell ConnectDirect application package is designed to offer customers easy Internet sign-on, the freedom to choose Internet access from leading Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and personalized Web start pages that offer customizable news content and links, Dell said.

The first month of AT&T Internet access is available at no charge Dell said, with subsequent monthly access at $19.95 per month.

"We talk to our customers, and they've told us they want easy Internet access and the ability to customize content," said Paul Bell, senior vice president and general manager of Dell's Home and Small Business Group. "The ConnectDirect initiative is Dell's response."

Dell's agreement with SBC Communications calls for SBC and Dell to jointly market high-speed ADSL modems and services, providing users with Internet and data access at a rate of up to 50 times faster than traditional modems, and transmitting over existing phone lines.

The initiative will equip Dell Dimension desktop PCs with ADSL modems and services, and SBC will deliver ADSL services to certain home and businesses served by SBC's Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell local telcos. SBC said it is working on introducing the service to select cities in Texas and California by early next year.

"Our objective is to make high-speed data services, specifically ADSL, more accessible to our business and residential customers," said Dave Gallemore, vice president of strategic marketing, SBC Operations. "This alliance with Dell is an example of our interest in building relationships with technology providers to help us further enhance the value we provide our data communications customers."

Dell said its announcement with SBC follows a similar Dell agreement in May with US West and Cisco to provide ADSL-ready Dimension PCs later this year to customers in select cities in the US West territories.

Once thought of as the job of ISPs and portals, Dell is the latest in a group of hardware companies to offer Internet access solutions on its platform. Packard-Bell NEC and Gateway also recently started bundling Internet access service within their equipment.



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