Sprint Launches Wireless Internet In Colorado Springs

Despite, or maybe because of, flagging numbers in its projected
third-quarter results, Sprint Corp.
launched fixed wireless Internet service for consumers and businesses in
Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday.

It’s the third U.S. market recipient of the Sprint Broadband Direct program,
which gives customers average download speeds of 1Mbps and upload speeds of
256Kbps. The two other markets were launched in Phoenix (May 8) and
Tucson (June 29), AZ.

The installation fee of $299 has been waived to bring in
customers. Equipment costs for installation range from $99 to $299,
depending on the length of contract the subscriber signs.

Monthly fees for the fixed wireless Internet service in Arizona started at
$39 a month for residential service. A month later, Sprint has backed off
from that price, bumping it to $44.95/month, even though that price puts it
slightly higher than the $39.95/month prices quoted by many digital
subscriber line and cable Internet service providers.

Steve Hain, Sprint general manager of Broadband Direct in Colorado Springs,
said the slightly higher price won’t sway potential customers in the city’s
more remote locations.

“Sprint Broadband Direct installation is fast and simple,” Hain said. “The
reliable, high-speed connection allow users to get data and move files
faster and more conveniently. And it is available in places that DSL or
cable modems don’t service.

“Sprint Broadband Direct delivers the same throughput to customers
regardless of distance from the tower,” Hain explained. “Since Sprint owns
its entire broadband network and manages its traffic for optimum
performance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, customers are assured of the
quality and reliability for which Sprint is renowned.”

Sprint officials predict fixed wireless services will do well in Colorado
Springs high-speed Internet market, when compared to DSL. Since DSL is
only available to consumers within a certain distance to the local
telephone company’s central office, it prevents many from getting the
service. Sprint’s wireless Internet service, however, is expected to cover
85 percent of the city.

In today’s Internet world, where connectivity is seen more and more as a
commodity, Sprint has thrown in a number of value-added services to bring
customers over to wireless. They include:

  • EarthLink Inc. Internet services.
  • Six e-mail addresses.
  • 6MB of Web storage for a EarthLink-centric personalized start page.
  • Five free hours of remote dial-up Internet access when away from the
    Sprint Broadband Direct coverage area.

Sprint is looking for good news to offset the stock plummet that
accompanied its warning Wednesday of lower profits and fewer
subscribers. The warning caught Wall Street off-guard, which considers
Sprint one of the industry’s best subscriber builders, prompting the
company’s biggest stock drop in nearly three years.

The news came on the heels of AT&T Corp.
and Worlcom Inc. announcements with similar third-quarter projections, citing
the increased competition for long-distance phone services. The two
companies have scaled back from subscriber projections made earlier this year.

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