Sprint Thursday announced plans for a broad scale DSL
rollout and plans to completely bypass Baby Bells.
Sprint said it will begin building Digital Subscriber Line links to its
next-generation Integrated On-Demand Network in 35 cities, which were not specified.
Announced in June, ION is a new network based on open architecture standards, allowing it to be accessed a number of ways including DSL and cable modems.
Sprint also said it no longer plans to work with Baby Bells, but instead
will build its own ION-capable digital lines that will extend all the way
to the customer’s location. Often, competing companies will hook their
service into the local telephone’s network which already extends directly
into the customer’s premises.
Sprint Chief Operating Officer Ronald LeMay said the company decided to build its own “last mile” connections to be sure customers wouldn’t be stymied by inadequate local connections.
“Previously, our plans centered on securing agreements with CLECs and
RBOCs for access to digital subscriber lines and, alternatively, building
facilities where it made sense to do so. Now, Sprint’s primary approach
will be to build our own broadband connecting facilities. As an
alternative, we will also continue to examine the economics of purchasing
access from regional providers to expand our coverage,” he said.
The company is also creating a new organization dedicated to bringing a
variety of DSL services for customers in the 18 states where Sprint also
offers local services.
Sprint estimates 1,000 central offices in major cities will be equipped to
offer its DSL services by early 2000. That number will ultimately grow to
LeMay said while DSL will be Sprint’s initial broadband offering, the
company continues to explore a variety of other high-speed access options.