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RealTime IT News

AT&T Now Bundling eMail Archiving

AT&T today moved to expand in an area crucial to its future: managed network services.

The Bedminster, N.J., company introduced an e-mail archiving service to help corporations and U.S. government agencies comply with new rules requiring them to save e-mails for several years.

Based on EMC and KVS storage technology, the service securely transmits information to one of AT&T's 21 data centers. There, it is indexed and stored in its original format and can be retrieved through a Web interface.

For customers, there are several advantages: no up-front investment in hardware, software or personnel; reduced strain on e-mail systems; pre-set retention periods to insure compliance; and a single point of contact.

Customers pay a monthly fee based on the number of users in their company, AT&T spokeswoman Kathryn Zawacke told internetnews.com.

Financial services and health care firms are among the target customers, Zawacke said. AT&T announced that Pioneer Investments is among the first customers for the service.

AT&T plans to deliver a new managed messaging offering this quarter and other mail and services enhancements this year for customers on complex networking systems.

It claims to be the first network operator to provide e-mail archiving. Offerings like this, and an earlier Web services foray, are important for AT&T's future.

AT&T has seen its traditional long-distance business swoon because of increased competition, but believes it can move "up the computing stack" to higher value services because of its extensive Internet protocol network and close relationships with enterprise customers. As part of the push, it's building four new data centers this year.

In other AT&T news, the company added digital subscriber line Internet access to its bundle of local and long-distance phone service in 11 additional states.

They are: Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, Arizona and Minnesota. Launched early last year, AT&T's communications bundle is now available in 25 states with plans for more.

AT&T views bundled services, which give customers discounts on their total communications costs, as a way to reduce customer churn. Customers who get all their communications services through are less likely to switch providers.

AT&T is offering promotions to lure new subscribers. The price for the first three months of service is $19.95 per month for standard DSL and $39.95 per month after. Or a faster DSL offering can be had for $29.95 per month and $49.95 after.

The expanded offering flows from AT&T's partnership with broadband network operator Covad Communications . Besides AT&T, Covad provides DSL for America Online, EarthLink and Sprint , among others.