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Covad Cuts Loop Order Delays

Covad Communications, Inc. Friday revved up its fully automated loop ordering process with four additional telephone companies.

New to Covad's electronic bonding system are GTE Corp., US West Inc. and SBC Communications Inc. subsidiaries Ameritech and Southwestern Bell.

Covad has been placing local loop orders using its automatic ordering process with Pacific Bell since December 1999.

Electronically bonding the incumbent carriers systems with Covad digital subscriber line orders streamlines the entire provisioning process and reduces set-up costs.

Vinu Sundaresan, Covad vice president of software engineering, said the process is a valuable end-to-end solution to slow turn times on DSL orders.

"The automated loop ordering process will allow Covad to more efficiently and quickly fulfill demand for our broadband services nationwide," Sundaresan said. "Electronically bonding with the phone companies' systems is expected to decrease installation times and administration costs, which will benefit our operation, consumers and even the phone companies."

Ideally, Covad wants to develop a "zero touch" process that would further shorten its DSL deployment cycle. Unlike other DSL providers that place orders manually through proprietary electronic data interchange, Covad's system is automated to handle transactions with each phone company, which flow from an Internet service provider's to Covad order through its operations support systems.

Electronic bonding simplifies Covad's DSL deployment and installation by enabling an automatic link between all parties concerned, without human intervention by Covad technicians.

Pacific Bell was the first to test the Covad automatic provisioning system. Since December, the data carrier has attained a 25 percent decrease in average installation time of new DSL orders from ISPs. Additionally, the system produced a 50 percent reduction in average loop order administration costs and a 70 percent reduction in average loop order costs paid to Pacific Bell.

From ISP order to DSL delivery, Covad and Pacific Bell achieved a 90 percent reduction in the provisioning cycle. Covad anticipates that similar results would be achieved with its four new electronically bonded partners.