Another Gracious Host

Suddenly, Web hosting is hot again.

Following the decision of two large service providers (Level 3, Sprint) to halt service because of cost concerns, several survivors have launched promotions to pick-up stranded customers.

The latest is SBC Communications which today said it will give new customers free installation plus one month’s service on most hosting plans. The discounts could save businesses thousands of dollars, the Austin, Texas, company said.

“The Internet plays a central role in interactions with customers, suppliers, partners, and investors — provider

instability simply is not an option,” said Ray Wilkins, group president of SBC marketing and sales.

SBC’s offerings in the sector are called PremierSERV e-Services and include access, networking, equipment, and storage as well as reporting and analysis tools to view system performance, resource availability and site usage. The company said it can handle design, delivery to ongoing management.

SBC is not alone in trying to snap up new users. Last week Denver-based Qwest began offering two free months of its CyberCenter service — which utilizes hosting centers in Burbank, Calif., Chicago; Denver; Sacramento, Calif.; Sterling, Va. and Tampa — to new customers.

And earlier this week, New York’s AT&T started a promotional campaign to woo new customers. In addition, Andover, Mass.-based Navisite, a provider of application hosting and messaging services, also recently reached out to new users.

Both pitches included two free months of co-location hosting services with a two-year contract that included a bundle of Internet connection and domain hosting services.

The flurry has prompted to to offer a free program to assist companies in evaluating hosting and bandwidth providers or to look at the feasibility of moving hosting in-house. The Calverton, Md., IT consulting firm has partnerships with more than 30 service providers.

“Companies typically choose data centers forapplications that are critical to their business,” said Joel Sam,’s president. “It is important that theycarefully evaluate all available options for both service and price.”

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