UUNET launches new services

UUNET Canada is the latest service provider to jump into the business-class ADSL game.

UUNET’s services, called UUlink ADSL, provide dedicated always-on access over standard analogue phone lines. The technology increases the capacity of the lines, providing what the company said is more cost-effective access to the Internet.

“What we offer is an ADSL solution which is essentially similar to a regular point to point (protocol over Ethernet) where you have your customer router there, and it’s a business application,” explained Sam Mazzotta, product manager for UUNET Canada.

UUlink ADSL is available with speeds of up to 640Kbps when sending data out, and up to 2.2Mbps when receiving it.

But ADSL is not going to be for everyone, Mazzotta said.

“It’s a very good solution for a small- to medium-sized businesses looking for a cost-effective solution, who are primarily downloading content,” he explained. “But for mission critical applications, or symmetrical usage, customers could also choose to do traditional products such as T-1.”

UUlink ADSL is now available in parts of Quebec and Ontario, but no firm dates have been set to launch the services anywhere else in the country. UUNET is looking at offering similar services beyond the current coverage it already offers, according to Mazzotta.

UUNET’s launch of DSL services was timely, said Mark Quigley, an analyst with the Yankee Group in Canada. He said UUNET had to include ADSL in its line of services in order to keep up with the offerings of competitors.

The UUlink ADSL service is available for a monthly charge which includes rental of the ADSL modem, Cisco router and Internet connectivity.

The company also recently announced enhancements to its dial-up services, UUdial Corporate, which allows multinational companies to receive one set of dial services.

“It’s really geared towards companies who want to administer large dial users,” Mazzotta said. “So we give them the ability to manage their own users through an end-user Web interface. They pay one price per user – it’s usually around $25 or less a month for each individual user – and with that they get things like 150 hours a month and an e-mail account.”

Managing separate individual dial accounts can be a headache, Mazzotta said, and corporate administrators needed an alternative.

“What we’ve done with UUdial Corporate is provide an easy to manage, central place for people to say ‘okay, I know exactly where all my individual users are going for their Internet access’, and they’re able to control that right away,” he explained.

The services benefit telecommuters and travelling employees as well. Through remote dial access, users can dial in to the closest point of presence (POP) through a local telephone number and their account ID. This, according to UUNET, could reduce the long distance charges a company would normally face.

The nature of the way e-mail and the Internet are used today has changed, according to The Yankee Group’s Quigley. He said both have become more timely. Travellers do not want to wait until they get back from a trip to read all their e-mail that has piled up.

“The ability to dial in from numerous places across Canada while on the road and having access to your services makes a big difference from the point of view of timeliness as well as being able to access your corporate site,” he said.

Administrative tools that come with the service make easier for the IT manager, according to Mazzotta.

All managers have to do to add an employee, for example, is “put in the information, and hit ‘submit’ — that person is then live right away. All they need to do is give them a username and password,” he said.

But Quigley said there is a down side — adding something like this could mean more work for the IT department.

“You’re adding another layer to the services that are currently there,” he said, “For some it would be a new service, but I think for a lot of them it’s going to be something they’re dealing with now anyhow.”

UUNET Canada, an MCI WorldCom company, is headquartered in Toronto. For more information, go to www.uunet.ca