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Sprint Launches Wireless Internet In Colorado Springs

Despite, or maybe because of, flagging numbers in its projected third-quarter results, Sprint Corp. launched fixed wireless Internet service for consumers and businesses in Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday.

It's the third U.S. market recipient of the Sprint Broadband Direct program, which gives customers average download speeds of 1Mbps and upload speeds of 256Kbps. The two other markets were launched in Phoenix (May 8) and Tucson (June 29), AZ.

The installation fee of $299 has been waived to bring in customers. Equipment costs for installation range from $99 to $299, depending on the length of contract the subscriber signs.

Monthly fees for the fixed wireless Internet service in Arizona started at $39 a month for residential service. A month later, Sprint has backed off from that price, bumping it to $44.95/month, even though that price puts it slightly higher than the $39.95/month prices quoted by many digital subscriber line and cable Internet service providers.

Steve Hain, Sprint general manager of Broadband Direct in Colorado Springs, said the slightly higher price won't sway potential customers in the city's more remote locations.

"Sprint Broadband Direct installation is fast and simple," Hain said. "The reliable, high-speed connection allow users to get data and move files faster and more conveniently. And it is available in places that DSL or cable modems don't service.

"Sprint Broadband Direct delivers the same throughput to customers regardless of distance from the tower," Hain explained. "Since Sprint owns its entire broadband network and manages its traffic for optimum performance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, customers are assured of the quality and reliability for which Sprint is renowned."

Sprint officials predict fixed wireless services will do well in Colorado Springs high-speed Internet market, when compared to DSL. Since DSL is only available to consumers within a certain distance to the local telephone company's central office, it prevents many from getting the service. Sprint's wireless Internet service, however, is expected to cover 85 percent of the city.

In today's Internet world, where connectivity is seen more and more as a commodity, Sprint has thrown in a number of value-added services to bring customers over to wireless. They include:

  • EarthLink Inc. Internet services.
  • Six e-mail addresses.
  • 6MB of Web storage for a EarthLink-centric personalized start page.
  • Five free hours of remote dial-up Internet access when away from the Sprint Broadband Direct coverage area.

Sprint is looking for good news to offset the stock plummet that accompanied its warning Wednesday of lower profits and fewer subscribers. The warning caught Wall Street off-guard, which considers Sprint one of the industry's best subscriber builders, prompting the company's biggest stock drop in nearly three years.

The news came on the heels of AT&T Corp. and Worlcom Inc. announcements with similar third-quarter projections, citing the increased competition for long-distance phone services. The two companies have scaled back from subscriber projections made earlier this year.



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