DSL Provider Targets Businesses

Residential DSL service provider Speakeasy is going after small- and mid-sized businesses with the rollout this week of a new T1 connection package and dedicated customer service program.

Longtime residential DSL service provider Speakeasy Inc. is trying to make inroads into the small- and mid-sized business market with the rollout this week of a new T1 connection package and dedicated customer service program.

Today approximately 70 percent of Speakeasys customers are residential consumers, but the Seattle-based company aims to achieve an even split between residential and business customers over the coming year, said CEO Michael Apgar.

"It was sort of a natural for us to provide consumer DSL initially, because we started out as an Internet café," Apgar said. "But now were big enough, well-financed enough and we understand enough to serve the business market."

The nationwide broadband services provider, which grew more than 300 percent over the past year, partners with Covad Communications Inc. and New Edge Networks Inc. For businesses that need faster connectivity than available though DSL, Speakeasy is offering T1 connections, ranging from 348 K-bps to 1.545 M-bps, service level agreements and priority technical support.

Those willing to pay extra will receive the Dedicated Account Management service ("We figured we should just call it what it is," Apgar said), which gives customers the name and direct telephone number of a service representative assigned specifically to them.

To overcome the negative reputation DSL has achieved over the years from the many difficulties customers typically had during service installation, Speakeasy provides an online installation tracking process. Customers can review the actual work logs of not only Speakeasy and Covad, but the local exchange carrier as well.

Within 60 days, Speakeasy plans to also offer fully managed firewall and virtual private network services for enterprises.