AT&T takes WorldNet Managed Internet Service international

AT&T's WorldNet Managed Internet Service has been made available in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia with plans to offer the service in other Asia/Pacific nations.

AT&T's WorldNet Managed Internet Service has been made available in Asia and will likely be available in the UK within a few months, AT&T has announced. WorldNet Managed Internet Service, first announced last September, offers dedicated-line Internet access and a range of system monitoring and analysis options to businesses.

AT&T's dial-up WorldNet service, aimed more at consumers, was announced last March for US customers. WorldNet dial-up is not yet available internationally, according to Mike Miller, an AT&T spokesman.

In Asia, beginning immediately, WorldNet Managed Internet Service is available in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia, Miller says. The company plans to offer the service in other Asia/Pacific nations, though Miller would not comment on AT&T's specific plans.

Europe and South America are on AT&T's list for service as well. "We will be deploying the service there, certainly within 1997," Miller says.

In the UK, service trials will begin in October, which if successful will be followed by service to UK customers in the first quarter of 1997, Miller says.

The service will give customers Internet connection via a dedicated leased line into corporate networks, enabling them to create virtual private intranets over the World Wide Web through AT&T's Intranet Directory Service, and to construct fire walls.

The company will launch a dial-up and ISDN Internet connection to the general public in the UK later in 1997. "We intend to make WorldNet an international service so we will be offering roaming capabilities, through user authentication and registration next year," says Allen Scott, UK business development director for AT&T.

"The UK is the best and the worst market for AT&T to enter the European telecommunications race," says Eric Owen, senior analyst for International Data in London. "It's the best because it's a relatively free market, and the worst because there are 150 telecommunications companies operating in this market."

AT&T's entry as an ISP into the European market also brings it into direct competition with many of its European customers. "We buy transatlantic bandwidth form AT&T," says David Barnet, director of marketing for UUNet Pipex, the European subsidiary of WorldCom. "AT&T's ISP status may not affect its ability to provide bandwidth, but it will certainly affect its ability to sell bandwidth to its competitors," he says.

WorldNet pricing will depend on the options selected, which range from simple Internet access to system monitoring tools and Web site planning, Miller says. For instance, a mid- to large-sized company requiring T1 Internet access could expect to pay US$2096 per month. Access through a 56K-bit line would cost $645 per month, Miller says.

The WorldNet Managed Internet Service software interface is in English, but billing and customer support are offered in the local language, Miller says.

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