There is good news for Internet users in Jackson who have been eagerly awaiting the next major improvement in Internet technology, digital subscriber lines (DSL) that have advantages such as faster data transmission. BellSouth plans to make asymmetrical digital subscriber lines (ADSL) available to certain exchanges in Jackson during the second quarter of 1999.
MCI WorldCom recently announced plans to make DSL service available across the country. A definite date for the service to be available in Mississippi has not yet been set.
Jim DeMerlis, vice president for data and enterprise product marketing, MCI WorldCom, said DSL or xDSL are terms used to represent many different flavors or types of service, ADSL being one of those. IDSL, SDSL, HDSL are some other types of DSL. DeMerlis said ADSL is primarily focused at the small business and home markets. ADSL has a larger bandwidth coming in than going out, and allows users to download data more quickly than data can be uploaded.
Most “Web surfers” and small business users need a large downloading capacity more than a large capacity to send or upload large amounts of data. SDSL (symmetrical digital subscriber line) is geared for larger businesses which may also need the capacity to send large amounts of data quickly.
DeMerlis said WorldCom is excited about offering DSL.
“My sense is there is a great pent-up demand both from corporate users and small businesses alike,” he said. “It is something we recognize as an important part of our On-Net portfolio of services. Right now there is no specific date when we will enter Mississippi with DSL. We are looking at a variety of markets for entrance this year and next. Certainly Mississippi will be among them, but there isn’t a specific date I can give you today.”
Marshall Morgan, president, Internet Doorway Inc. (Netdoor), said DSL will be a marked advantage over presently available technology.
“DSL is a faster technology that can use existing copper wires to your house,” Morgan said. “We anxiously await it. Our customers anxiously await it. The future of the Internet is tremendous. There are a thousand things we are going to do with this thing as we go forth.”
DSL will provide competition for Internet access with cable television modem. Cable modems hookups are not widely available in Mississippi. Morgan said that where it is available, cable modems haven’t been that popular. Some customers feel that cable companies aren’t as familiar with the needs of Internet users.
“Think about your grocery store trying to be a fast food chain,” Morgan said. “The grocery store may know a lot about food, but not how people want it prepared. People don’t really want cable companies providing Internet service for the same kind of reasons.”
BellSouth Public Affairs Vice President for Mississippi Larry Johnson said ADSL will enhance BellSouth’s telecommuting offerings for businesses with employees working from home offices. Johnson said there is tremendous public interest in transmitting larger volumes of data at a faster speed.
“That’s why we are building out our network to include ADSL and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode),” Johnson said.
ATM switches will be installed in several Mississippi cities including Jackson, Greenwood, Tupelo, Meridian, Hattiesburg and Gulfport during the second quarter of 1999. Johnson said ATM allows for a broad range of applications. The technology can consolidate voice, video and data.
“Extremely versatile and efficient, ATM can transport a wide range of services whether the network is local or stretched across the continent,” Johnson said.
While some people have complained about how long it has taken for services like DSL to be available in Mississippi, Johnson said BellSouth’s network in Mississippi is second to none.
“BellSouth Corporation celebrated its 15th anniversary in January building on a heritage of remarkable growth including a $3 billion investment in Mississippi in its state-of-the-art network,” Johnson said. “The company’s investment in our telecommunications infrastructure includes fiber optics, digital connectivity and lines transmitting larger bandwidths of data at faster speeds in order to meet our customers’ needs.”
Only selected areas of Jackson, four exchanges, are targeted to receive ADSL in 1999. Dates have not been set for adding the service elsewhere in the state.
BellSouth is also introducing two new products to customers in Mississippi in 1999. Managed E-Sales and E-Purchases programs are designed for electronic commerce. The Managed E-Sales product is targeted at the business-to-consumer market, while Managed E-Purchases is designed for business-to-business. Johnson said both products use the latest in Internet/Extranet technology and provide secure, reliable Web site hosting and catalog creation, as well as 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week monitoring and maintenance, credit handling, reporting and tracking services.
Other recent BellSouth offerings for business communications include SmartRing, ZipConnect, and a high-speed broadband network. SmartRing is a rerouting service that provides an alternate path when the primary route is interrupted. ZipConnect allows callers to dial a single number for a multi-location business to become automatically connected to the office nearest the caller’s zip code.
MCI WorldCom has a number of products available for network management applications to the Internet. MCI WorldCom has integrated several tools into an online suite of applications for managing telecommunications services called MCI WorldCom Interact. The Web-based suite of tools allows customers to interact via a single point of access for active management of their telecommunications service through network management, reporting, online customer care and electronic billing.
The MCI WorldCom Interact portfolio includes electronic billing and reporting. Traffic reporting allows customers using MCI WorldCom toll-free services to access important call information pertinent to the running of their call centers or business. Price Reporting is designed to help customers manage their day-to-day telecommunications expenditures. Users can receive rated call detail records on a daily and/or monthly basis, which can be used for analysis and day-to-day management. Broadband Reporting provides graphical and text-based reports to help monitor MCI WorldCom’s suite of data services including Frame Relay, Switched Multi-megabit Data Service (SMDS), and Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM).