AT&T offers sale on ISDN and frame-relay

SAN FRANCISCO - AT&T last week announced at an FTS 2000 users' conference here two promotions that will reduce the cost of data calls over Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) access lines and installation of frame-relay service on the government-wide network.

John Doherty vice president of FTS 2000 and civilian markets at AT&T Government Markets told conference attendees the company will remove the price difference between voice and data calls that use Virtual On-Net (VON) access an AT&T service used typically by smaller federal offices as a way to connect to FTS 2000 without the expense of dedicated circuits.

This promotion available until the end of the year will reduce by about 65 percent the cost of making data calls over ISDN basic-rate interface access lines provided by local exchange carriers AT&T officials said.

Doherty also said AT&T will waive service initiation charges on orders for frame-relay service at access rates of 56 kilobit/sec and 1.5 megabit/sec. The discount would apply only to orders received between last week and June 30 and to service installed no later than Sept. 1.

The deals were greeted enthusiastically by some members of the audience as well as officials from the General Services Administration.

Sandy Bates assistant commissioner for service delivery at GSA's Federal Telecommunications Service said the promotion illustrates that AT&T which had been criticized by some agencies for delays in obtaining services remains determined to keep the program vital. "It's a nice thing for customers and it shows that AT&T is still very committed to the program " Bates said.

Pennies Saved

Jack Vance business manager of outbound services at AT&T said customers will save about three cents to four cents per minute through the special deal on VON access depending on the origins and destinations of their calls. He said the company hopes customers will take advantage of the new offer and the flexibility available through ISDN for applications requiring high bandwidth.

"In the last 12 to 18 months data service has taken on a new urgency particularly with Internet and intranet usage and bandwidth-heavy applications that are just beginning to take off " Vance said. "This [promotion] is to make the government aware that this service is resident in their network and they can take advantage of it at a very attractive price."

Vance said the reduced rate for data calls will automatically be applied to the bills of eligible customers beginning July 1. He said the special rates will be available until the end of the year at which time AT&T officials will determine whether to extend the offer into 1998.

Sandra Frazier applications development manager for data services at AT&T said the new offer to waive service initiation charges will apply to new frame-relay users or to users who want to expand their existing frame-relay service. She said AT&T normally charges $797 to bring up frame-relay access at 56 kilobit/sec and $1 555 for T-1 line access. The company will not apply these one-time charges to customers who order the service during the promotion.

Bates also announced at the conference that GSA and AT&T this month signed an FTS 2000 contract modification that allows the company to sell prepaid phone cards worth $5 $10 $15 or $20. The cards already offered by Sprint to its FTS 2000 customers were designed to give traveling government employees a flat per-minute rate for calls within the continental United States Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Bates said.

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