Dell Dials Deals With AT&T, Excite, SBC

In response to what it is said is customer demand for
faster access to the Net, Dell Computer
Corp.
today announced a slew of deals with AT&T World Net Service, Excite Inc. and SBC Communications Inc., to provide Internet
access applications on the desktop of Dell Dimensions PCs.


Under the agreements with AT&T and Excite which go into effect tomorrow, each
individual Dell Dimension desktop personal computer will connect the
customer to a
personalized Excite start page, and also offer WorldNet’s Internet access
service. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


The Dell ConnectDirect application package is designed to offer customers easy
Internet sign-on, the freedom to choose Internet access from
leading Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and personalized Web start pages
that offer customizable news content and links, Dell said.


The first month of AT&T Internet access is available at no charge Dell
said, with subsequent monthly access at $19.95 per month.


“We talk to our customers, and they’ve told us they want easy Internet
access and the ability to customize content,” said Paul Bell, senior vice
president and general manager of Dell’s Home and Small Business Group. “The
ConnectDirect initiative is Dell’s response.”


Dell’s agreement with SBC Communications calls for SBC and Dell to jointly
market high-speed ADSL modems and services, providing users with Internet
and data
access at a rate of up to 50 times faster than traditional modems, and
transmitting over existing phone lines.


The initiative will equip Dell Dimension desktop PCs with ADSL modems and
services, and SBC will deliver ADSL services to certain home and businesses
served by SBC’s Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell local
telcos. SBC said it is working on introducing the service
to select cities in Texas and California by early next year.


“Our objective is to make high-speed data services, specifically ADSL, more
accessible to our business and residential customers,” said Dave Gallemore,
vice president of strategic marketing, SBC Operations. “This alliance with
Dell is an example of our interest in building relationships with
technology providers to help us further enhance the value we provide our
data communications
customers.”


Dell said its announcement with SBC follows a similar Dell agreement in May
with US West and Cisco to provide ADSL-ready Dimension PCs later this year
to customers in select cities in the US West
territories.


Once thought of as the job of ISPs and portals, Dell is the latest in a
group of hardware companies to offer Internet access solutions on its
platform. Packard-Bell NEC and Gateway also recently started bundling
Internet access service within their equipment.


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