No. of Recommendations: 0
(Sorry, it's long.)

Recently extracted myself from position with AWRE. Partly frustration with their P-R dept. unwilling to give straight answers to straight questions, partly concern over price volatility, partly because loss of faith in timely applications, but mostly due to their dependence on RBOC roll-outs.

As I was investigating options locally for high-speed, economical broadband service, I called local Bell (SW Bell) to inquire about their plans for DSL. This was at suggestion of my local ISP, who is dependent on SW Bell for DSL access. Unbelievably, at SW Bell I couldn't find anyone who knew about their plans!!! So, in frustration I called the construction office to speak to field engineer who had helped me out with a previous problem. He was incredibly gracious and anxious to assist. He personally called their supposed "DSL Dept." and requested that a certain individual call me back. He (engineer) asked me to let him know if I did not get the call. I spoke to him a week later to let him know there was no call. Same thing the following week, after he again placed the request. He then gave ME the number, which I called. Had to leave a message. No return call. Finally spoke to a secretary who informed me that they actually had no timetable for DSL, and that they figured when they did get around to it, there would still be "plenty" of customers interested. (Meanwhile, cable access is exploding here from pent-up demand.) Hey, are you kidding me?!! What is with these (RBOC) guys! Was reminded of all this today when reading article at TS.com. (Subscription site/ a few excerpts):


"Bell Atlantic (BEL:NYSE) reigns supreme over the
wealthy, populous Northeast region, but the phone
giant has been moving at a snail's pace to deliver
quick access to the Internet.

But the Baby Bells as a group have been slow to roll
out their broadband strategy. In the past eight
months, Bell Atlantic has acquired far less than
20,000 subscribers, according to analysts and
industry executives. This puts Bell Atlantic at the
back of a crawling pack of Baby Bells. ...

"The regional Bells are about steady returns, they're
not growth companies, and not aggressive in areas
where they may lose money," says Mike Smith, a
senior telecommunications industry analyst and
consultant with Stratecast Partners. Smith advises
telecom service providers, including the Bells.

That may be hurting some of the smaller ISPs.
Privately held Huntington Beach, Calif., ISP
Flashcom signed an alliance agreement with Bell
Atlantic in June, but President and CEO Brad Sachs
says the company's slow uptake and shifting
technology decisions means that he has been
unable to sign on any subscribers thus far. "They're
a phone company, for chrissake," says Sachs. "

TSC 7/28/99

Boy, maybe as Nole1 on ATHM has suggested, the best market for xDSL is the business community - but I sure get impatient as an investor, and uncomfortable - relying on these Bells for anything. That's a tough place for AWRE to be, it seems to me.

-mgk
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