SBC Standardizes Data Services

Telecom service provider SBC Communications is standardizing its data services across its regional subsidiaries as it expands its Internet protocol networks.

The move aligns pricing for services such as frame relay , ATM and private line offerings, across the San Antonio, Texas, company’s coverage areas and provides a single contact for its business customers, a selling point for larger business who have multiple offices.

Other features include: alternative routing and disaster recovery services; a bundled service for locations outside SBCs’s local service territory; enhanced service level agreements (SLAs); and international options.

The streamlining comes as SBC strengthens its network backbone. An expansion, which hinges on regulatory approval in several states where the company operates (as SBC Pacific Bell, SBC Nevada Bell and SBC Ameritech), is scheduled to be complete by mid-2003.

“(The national menu, plus network expansion) represent a major milestone in SBC’s ongoing strategy to deliver a powerful, flexible new choice for businesses customers,” said Chuck Rudnick, an SBC senior vice president.

So far, the networks, and related services, are available in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas and will be offered in Connecticut by year’s end. SBC hopes to add California, Illinios, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin next year.

The project will enable SBC to manage all elements of its backbone, which will include a fully redundant OC-192 IP platform.

Like other telecoms, Baby Bell SBC, which is strong in Midwest and Southwest states, is looking to expand its offerings and sign new subscribers to make the most of its multi-million infrastructure investments.

Last week, the company announced a new bundled offering aimed at consumers who want to simplify billing for Internet, phone and satellite TV services.

It is also guarding its existing customers. SBC recently blasted rival MCI WorldCom for allegedly switching customers’ service without their consent, a charge MCI WorldCom denies.

SBC is also reportedly shopping its e-commerce software subsidiary to Boston investment group Bain Capital. Though the estimated $700 million price tag is well below what SBC paid for the company in March 2000, it would add cash to its coffers and narrow its focus.

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