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VOL. 112 | NO. 187 | Wednesday, October 14, 1998

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No cable - 95 percent of businesses can access compared to RR 20 percent Serving it up dish-to-dish By KATHLEEN BURT The Daily News As computers get smaller and faster, businesses look for more options to get information more quickly. A new service coming online in Memphis next week proposes to provide one of the most instantaneous connections to the Internet available to businesses. This service can reach a wide area through wireless technology for about the same cost as more traditional cable systems. Jackson, Miss.-based Wireless One Inc. now is offering Warp One wireless technology, which will transmit volumes of data in seconds rather than hours, days or weeks. By transmitting high-speed information through the airways, area computers will receive a high quality, digital signal almost instantly. For business people, this means an increase in productivity levels and faster downloads, making the Web an even more beneficial business tool. The service area of Warp One is 35 miles, based on line of sight, and is not affected by rain or weather conditions. The speed of Warp One ranges from 256 kilobytes per second to 10 megabytes per second, depending on the choice of throughput of the modem. In Memphis, a microwave dish atop Clark Tower will provide Warp One access to users in western Tennessee, northern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas. The microwave signal can reach about 90 percent of businesses within that 35-mile radius. Locally, this service is offered through Office Equipment Service. OES also represents the revamped Road Runner service made available by Time Warner. Both provide super fast Internet access using different means. Road Runner piggybacks its service through cable lines. Newer buildings in east Memphis have cable access built-in or readily available. Older buildings and skyscrapers that dot Downtown are not so easily wired, and thats where Warp One really shines, said OES president Darren Metz. "Time Warner has Road Runner service in east Memphis but can't get it to Clark Tower because of the cabling. Warp One is a great option for people who need high speed," Metz said. The service area is another advantage because, to this point, Time Warner has not run cable service out from Memphis as far as 35 miles, he said. "Only about 20 percent of businesses would have access to Road Runner in that 35-mile physical radius," Metz said. Road Runner does offer some amenities of its own though, he said. It not only offers high-speed service but also is a content provider of information. With Road Runner Pro, which is geared for the high-speed needs of businesses, company officials said the idea of dedicated lines is a big plus. ``As with any business, theres different functionality," said Mark Gruberman, general manager for Road Runner of the Mid-South. "Just like when VCRs first came on the market, there were different formats. Each has pluses and minuses. We offer service on a dedicated network and that, I think, is a plus." Gruberman said the market for high-speed data is wide open right now, a thought the introduction of Warp One validates. Time Warner has been working to introduce the high-speed system for some time. Memphis is the 10th city nationwide to have access to the Road Runner Pro network. "We will continue to rollout new services in the next few months to further enhance this service," Gruberman said. "Right now, we don't guarantee bandwidths, but we will be able to offer 10 MB per second downstream." Warp One is capable of connecting to multiple computers and all the equipment needed to access this service is included, such as modem, cabling and antenna. Each package also includes Internet access port installation, configuration and service activation, single or multiple domain name supports, e-mail accounts, World Wide Web hosting, file transfer protocol accounts, dynamic hosting control protocol addresses and Web access. The customizing of accounts addresses and other features also are available. The 256K speed service is twice as fast as an Integrated Services Digital Network connection but priced competitively with these products. The Warp One higher speeds are comparable with T-1 services and their prices. There are five different packages to choose from depending on the amount of speed desired. Month-to-month or yearly contracts are offered. Each package is priced according to the number of users accessing the network. The cost will increase as the number of users increases, Metz said. Warp One Inc. is not available for residential use at this time because of the price structure. Officials believe Warp One will change the traditional model for data services available to small and mid-size businesses. However, opportunities also exist for home offices, work-at-home employees and some large customers who are not able to obtain high speed services from local carriers, Metz said. Currently, the service is available for $395 per month for a 256 KBps connection for entry-level and up. For the 10 MBps Ethernet, the cost is about $1,500 per month. OES is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aztec, which is publicly traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol AZTC. The company's Web site is http://www.OESNet.com. More information about Warp One is available from its Web site at http://www.WarpOne.net.
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