SBC Firefighters To The Rescue

SBC Communications Inc., is hoping to
put out some fires with its deal Monday with NightFire Software Inc., to automate
the loop ordering process with competitive and data local exchange carriers.

SBC and the other U.S. “Baby bells” are under close
scrutiny by competitors and the federal government alike to make ordering
digital subscriber line services easier and more cost effective. It’s a
practice not in the telco’s best interest, as they fight for dominance in
the very lucrative high-speed Internet access market.

But federal authorities like a show of good faith, especially in light of
the Federal Communications Commission’s
consent Friday to allow SBC to push DSL outside of the central office and
into neighborhood broadband gateways. This will extend SBC’s reach to 80
percent of its roughly 35 million telephone customers.

It’s a concern for officials and competitors alike, since SBC is already
the nation’s largest DSL provider, with more than 435,000 subscribers.

Jerry Rudisin, Nightfire president and chief executive officer, said SBC’s
decision to use Nighfire’s eSupplierExpress service is a sure sign the
telco is making a real effort to open up its lines.

“We’re pleased to see SBC take the lead to open up its networks to
competitive carriers, Rudisin said. This is consistent with the spirit of
telecommunications deregulation and is good business for SBC. Our service
bureau agreement with SBC makes NightFire’s hosted serve an even better way
for competitive carriers to focus on growth and revenue rather than the
complexities of loop ordering.”

According to Rudisin, his company’s ordered 60,000 loops already this year
using the web-based loop ordering process, making it easier than ever to
get incumbent local exchanges, DLECs and CLECs connected.

Normally, Rudisin said, companies like Covad Communications Group and Rhythms
NetConnections
, would have to manually order every loop each time,
going through a time-consuming loop ordering certification process. This
creates a huge inefficiency, as the process connecting the operational
support systems of the two separate companies would have to be recreated
each time.

With eSupplierExpress, the telco and the competitor need only go through
the process once, saving time and money on both sides. Tony DiStefano, Arrival Communications chief executive
officer, said this is going to save his second-tier company a lot of money
in the long run.

“The NightFire/SBC deal ensures that Arrival can take immediate advantage
of eSupplierExpress,” DiStefano said. “This will enable us to quickly and
cost-effectively procure DSL lines for our customers.”

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