BellSouth Beefs Up Its Business DSL Portfolio

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BellSouth Corp. is hoping to add firepower to its business services portfolio with several new service weapons, including two new speed offerings and options to new customers as to how they want to plug in.

The Atlanta-based Baby Bell recently announced two new DSL packages to its business lineup. The $199-per-month FastAccess 384 offers a symmetrical DSL link at 384 kilobits per second. The symmetrical service is aimed at customers who are starting to use video-streaming applications for corporate training and communications.

"That is a great product for video applications — distance learning, desktop conferencing," said Rich Wonders, BellSouth senior director of broadband marketing. "It is a committed bitrate service, which means that it is constantly 384 kbps — it doesn't vary."

The RBOC also is adding FastAccess 768, a $219-per-month service that promises a minimum 768 kbps downstream and 512 kbps upstream, although it can burst upwards of 1 megabit per second.

That service is designed for the customers that want faster guaranteed speeds in both directions than are offered with the original $79 monthly FastAccess product, which offers up to 1.5 Mbps downstream and 256 kbps upstream.

BellSouth is also offering new options for how first-time customers want to sign on for service. That includes an option allowing them to provide their own consumer premesis equipment, rather than having to purchase gear from BellSouth.

"We have large customers in particular that may have spare CPE," Wonders said. "They have modems and routers that they can get, and they want to use a particular brand — they can do that."

Another new option allows customers to self-install the gear. In particular, this gives businesses with IT resources an opportunity to save some money on the installation.

"I don't expect that a lot of customers will crawl around wiring cabinets, fishing wires out of walls to install DSL," Wonders noted. "But what I do expect is that they will be using in some cases their PC integrator or their wiring vendor or their third cousin that does this kind of stuff."

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