RealTime IT News

New Edge's New Milestone

New Edge Networks turned the corner on another milestone with Tuesday's announcement of its digital subscriber line (DSL) services in 300 markets throughout the U.S.

New Edge has taken the lead in its promise to "bridge the digital divide," a much bandied-about catch phrase touted by many telecommunications companies, but one rarely followed through those same companies. New Edge caters its DSL offerings to small, midsize and semi-rural communities.

Sal Cinquegrani, New Edge executive director of communications and investor relations, said the contagious demand for DSL is making it hard to keep up with DSL demand.

"Most companies attitude towards DSL in the small, medium and rural markets is that there's not enough people who will be able to make the operation profitable," Cinquegrani said. "But the truth is, people can't get it fast enough. It's what I like to call contagious demand; when people see what DSL can do, they have to get it. It's so popular now that demand is outstripping supply.

"For many of the people in smaller markets," Cinquegrani continued, "there's no other high-speed option for them; the telephone companies are taking their time putting the equipment in their central offices, wireless is an expensive option and much of the cable network hasn't been upgraded yet."

Dan Moffat, New Edge president, chief executive officer and co-founder, said his company is running ahead of schedule and trying to keep up with market demand.

"By any standard our speed to coverage is a remarkable feat," Moffat said. "We're walking the talk and continuing to fulfill our mission of nationwide coverage for smaller, underserved communities where a huge appetite exists for broadband and always-on high speed Internet connections."

In addition to the 302 central offices the competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) provides service, New Edge has the equipment set up in 200 other locations and is just waiting to finalize operations. The company is at work on another 600 COs.

Cinquegrani said the company is not looking past its nationwide deployment goal of 1,100 COs, which they expect to be completed next year.

"We've pretty much wrapped up the first 500 central offices, which was a huge undertaking for our team," Cinquegrani said. "We've come a long way since December, when we put in our first DSLAM. It's going to take a lot more work to finish up with the other 600 locations we have planned. After that, our focus is going to be to replicate the aggressive network deployment into our sales and marketing to make partnerships with Internet service providers.

"After that," Cinquegrani added, "we'll check the landscape to see whether we want to pursue the smaller or larger markets."

The rollout is part of an industry wide movement by CLECs throughout the country scrambling to gain market share offering DSL services. It's the baby Bells, however, that have the edge in DSL deployment, since telcos own the central offices and networks running throughout. Currently, industry giant SBC Communications Inc., holds the lead with more than 400,000 DSL subscribers.

While Covad Communications Group, is the leader in DSL subscribers for a CLEC, a Cahners In-Stat reports states the 6-to-1 difference with baby Bells is too great a gap to overcome.

Mike Lowe, Cahners In-Stat advanced carriers service senior analyst and author of "DSL Service Providers and Their Rollouts", said the CLECs have kept themselves in the race so far by capturing some market share, but it won't be enough in the end.

"At the end of the day, CLECs d