Covad Eyes Small Businesses


One week after losing critical discounts on residential line sharing courtesy
of the Federal Communications Commission, Covad Communications Co. is bouncing
back with a raft of new enterprise products targeting small-business

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based competitive broadband telco will debut a slate
of offerings March 4 ranging from a beefed-up Web-hosting lineup to two new
services aimed at expanding business customers' options for Internet access.

It's all part of Covad's new focus on products for small businesses -- a
segment that now makes up 40 percent of the company's business, according to Tom
Thayer, vice president and assistant general manager of Covad Broadband

First up: a new line of Web-hosting products to help small businesses gain a
foothold on the Internet. Covad's research indicated that about 55 percent of
all small businesses have yet to create their own Web sites.

The four Web-hosting options, which sell for flat monthly fees, range from a
basic $9.95 package, which offers businesses their own electronic-mail domain,
to a $79.95 premium package with 50 e-mail accounts, 250 megabytes of Web
storage and 10 gigabits per second of monthly data transfer.

On the access side, Covad is introducing a new high-end
asymmetric-digital-subscriber-line product, offering speeds of 3 megabits per
second upstream and 384 kilobits per second downstream for $149.95 per

While designed for small businesses with multiple Internet users, it will
also likely find a place as the wired-access link sitting behind 802.11 hotspots
that are popping up in cafes and restaurants these days, Thayer said.

Covad also will reshuffle its symmetric DSL offerings, dropping its 192-kbps
and 1.1-mbps offerings while repricing the 384-kbps, 768-kbps and 1.5-mbps

On Tuesday, Covad also will debut two new services on a trial basis. One is
an access product that allows businesses to set up a wireless 802.11 local-area
network, with equipment provided by partner Linksys Group Inc.

The other new service offering is remote computer access, which allows
businesses to tap into their central computer systems while on the road. Covad
is pairing up with ( to offer that service.

Pricing information for these two services was not available at press