The second times a charm, or so Sprint hopes for its small-business DSL service. This time around, the company is offering business-class DSL services with guarantees galore, in 32 markets across the country.
The fine print of the service rollout includes the availability of speeds up to 8 Mbps, dedicated customer support for businesses, a 30-day installation guarantee, a broadband router, six static IP addresses, and service-level guarantees. Prices range from $159.99 per month up to $224.99 per month, depending on the type of agreement.
Despite the public failures among DSL service providers, this is the "ideal time" for Sprint to launch its small-business initiative, says David Palan, director of marketing for Sprint Business DSL. "In our experience over the last several years, weve learned that consumer DSL was a challenge, because it was difficult to build a cost-efficient model," he says. "But the case for business DSL is much better."
Palan says this latest offering is an evolution of Sprint ION, which originally launched small-business services back in June 2000.
Whereas ION was a combined voice-and-data service, the new business DSL service is data only. While the overall ION plan was a failure, the project left Sprint with a network architecture capable of handling the bandwidth, services and customer support necessary to take care of business customers. "Its where weve chosen to take our business-data solutions," notes Palan.
Targeting the small business with DSL is an increasingly popular trend, says Rob Carlson, senior analyst at Current Analysis. "DSL has traditionally been packaged for consumers," he says. But with incumbents adding services to DSL to make it business-class, businesses can truly use it, says Carlson. "Its good for DSL."