Sprint, Covad to Unveil Biz DSL Deal

Less than a year after scrapping its Sprint ION and Broadband Direct
high-speed Internet services, Sprint has inked a wholesale
third-party deal with Covad Communications to jump into the enterprise DSL

According to internal documents leaked on the Web Friday, the Sprint
Business DSL service will be rolled out on August 12 by using Santa Clara,
Calif.-based Covad Communications as the third-party DSL access provider.

The deal, which had been the subject of speculation of several months, gets
Sprint back into the thick of the high-speed ISP race, after technical
problems and massive overheads forced the cancellation of its enterprise
high-speed services last year.

A powerpoint presentation posted at Broadband Reports outlined details of the
Sprint/Covad deal, which lets Sprint offer ADSL , IDSL
and SDSL services to enterprise customers.

“The Covad agreement (will) improve Sprint’s DSL footprint by nearly 1000
new central offices, while expanding access speeds and capabilities of the
DSL portfolio. Expanded CO coverage gives offers customers wide array of
Sprint branded, value-add products and services that ride on DSL access,”
according to the document.

A spokesperson for Sprint declined comment Friday, noting that the document
was meant for internal uses only. Sources told internetnews.com that
lawyers from Sprint had contacted Broadband Reports to demand the document
be removed.

In the document, Sprint is promising the ADSL service would over
downstream/upstream speeds up to 1.5M/384k (routed) with static IP
addressing. All three DSL options would come with value-added services like
network-based IP VPN and networked-based firewall protection.

When it goes to market, the ADSL service will be priced between $129 and
$149 per year while the IDSL/SDSL packages have been fixed between $133.99
and $149.99 per year. One-time activation, equipment and installation
charges will also apply, according to the document.

In the future, Sprint plans to roll out Frame Relay over DSL in the fourth
quarter this year along with improved installation SLAs and performance
reporting services.

Specifics of the deal call for Sprint to purchase wholesale services from
Covad, allowing the telecommunications firm to own the customer. Sprint
would be responsible for billion and providing technical support and
assigning of IP addresses.

Covad, which emerged from bankruptcy protection last December, gets to
provide the product and service installations. The company, which
specializes in business-grade services under the TeleSpeed brand and two
consumer-grade service offerings, would provide Sprint-branded self-install
and 2nd tier support for service assurance.

The deal comes at an interesting time for Sprint, which has struggled to
compete with powerhouses like Verizon and AT&T Broadband
in the enterprise DSL space.

Earlier this month, the Sprint Group exited the
data business in a move aimed at reducing costs and streamlining operations.
The decision effectively erased more than 1,000 jobs. Sprint said the
decision to drop DSL from the L-D group comes only one year after a big
marketing push by the division to move into the high-speed data arena.
Sprint officials say the DSL service offered in Sprint’s business group was
unaffected by the announcement.

Last November, Sprint spent $1.1 billion on a deal to let Nortel Networks
upgrade their local telephone network to provide asynchronous transfer mode
(ATM) packet switching technology, opening up the door to high-quality,
data-reliant Internet services.

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