Bell Atlantic Joins IBM in Test Of Internet Appliance, Applications

Bell Atlantic Joins IBM in Test Of Internet Appliance, Applications

Project Uses InfospeedSM DSL High Speed Internet Access To Engage Customized Services

March 9, 2000


Jim Smith,

Joan Rasmussen,

NEW YORK - On the margin of the telecommunications network where it meets the Internet, there is a fertile area for the next explosion in electronic commerce, an area where the right combination of tools, access service and applications will meet to create customized Internet interactions.

Bell Atlantic today announced that it will join IBM and an assortment of applications service providers (ASPs) in a trial of some of the first "edge-of-network" services. Customers will access these services using Bell Atlantic's Infospeed DSL (digital subscriber line) Internet service and a new Internet appliance developed by IBM.

"Customized Internet applications, tailored to the information and data processing needs of users are the next wave in electronic commerce," said Fred D'Alessio, group president of Bell Atlantic's consumer services organization. "Our Infospeed DSL service will be our customer's link to that developing realm. By participating in this pilot, our company and our customers are among the first to benefit from these exciting developments."

Under agreements announced today, IBM, Bell Atlantic and several other telecommunications companies this spring will begin to test access and delivery to the new applications that could include services like insurance, health care, finance, small and medium-size business back office services, travel and entertainment support.

"Bell Atlantic serves some of the most dynamic, progressive enterprises in the world," said Ed McGuiness, vice president of business marketing for Bell Atlantic's Enterprise Business Services group. "They're ready to begin designing, testing and selling applications services as ground-floor players in this new realm. We intend to help them make the most of these initiatives using the best in data networking and IP services."

"High speed Internet access will be the key to the success of edge-of-network services," said Amy McIntosh, president of Bell Atlantic Network Data, Inc. "The use of our Infospeed DSL service as the access service in this test will position our customers to take advantage of these developments quickly and efficiently."

Essentially, edge-of-network services will enable Internet users to use simplified appliances to access services that are centralized at application service providers' sites. Users will no longer be limited to using full-powered personal computers with their own distributed intelligence. In some cases, the appliance, coupled to a high-speed access line into these services, will be branded and customized to perform primarily one service, for example, banking, but will have general Web access and access to other specialized services as well.

"In the post-PC era, we are focused on bringing to market personal, easy-to-use tools that are e-business ready, vital to users' electronic lifestyles and that seamlessly integrate the network in a transparent manner," said David Thomas, senior vice president and general manager, IBM Personal Systems Group. "We are marketing our edge-of-the-network tools and services through a new business-to-business-to-customer model to leverage our strengths in e-business mindshare and our extensive product and services line up, so together with Bell Atlantic we can deliver the best Internet experience possible."

IBM will provide the devices which initially will be stationary equipment but ultimately will include mobile terminals as well. IBM also will provide the maintenance, customized content delivery and deployment of future services. The goal, said Thomas, is development of "personal, easy-to-use tools that are e-business ready, linked to users' electronic lifestyles and that seamlessly and transparently engage the network."

"We believe Bell Atlantic's network and Infospeed DSL service are perfect for the realization of this vision," McIntosh said, "and we look forward to a successful pilot program and tremendous growth and development in the near future."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.