Sprint disclosed plans yesterday to offer proprietary digital-subscriber-line access that will help users connect to its soon-to-be-completed ION open-architecture network in 35 U.S. cities and 18 states in 1999.
The announcement reverses Sprint's original plan, outlined in June, under which Sprint would have leased DSL access from local Bell companies and competitive local exchange carriers for ION (Integrated On-Demand Networks). The company now plans to install broadband connecting equipment at 1,000 local carriers' sites, and will lease only the copper connection wires from local carriers. ION, which is still in beta but is expected to be rolled out to large companies early next year, will let users access voice, video, Internet, and fax over one line. More information on Sprint's ION plans can be found here.
According to one analyst, Sprint believes it can deploy the network and DSL lines more quickly if it does the deployment itself. "They took a look at the economics of doing DSL themselves, and it turns out it will save them a lot of money and they'll be able to get it out quicker," says Lisa Pierce, a director at Giga Information Group.
UUNet, a division of telecommunications competitor MCI WorldCom, made a similar announcement last month, touting availability of DSL lines nationwide in the next six months.
Sprint announced it will form a separate business unit that will focus on deploying and servicing the DSL networks.