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Filling the NorthPoint gap

Sun, 04/08/2001 - 8:00pm
Anne Kerven

In an ideal world, it wouldn't take even a few days to get your DSL up and running, especially when the building's other tenants already have it.

But several providers are touting their services, and offering relief to stranded Northpoint ex-customers, getting them connected in as few as three days. They say.

Louisville, Colo.-based @Link Networks is working with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce to set up a toll-free phone number for chamber members who got cut off, giving them a direct line to @Link's reps who say they can set up customers in 25 to 30 days.

The cuts affect 60,000 NorthPoint customers in Illinois, and thousands of the chamber's members, chamber spokesman Jeff Kaye told CEDaily. Short-term, the chamber's tech growth committee last Monday started hunting for alternatives for its members, who were blindsided by the service shutoff.

The committee found the solution in its own membership. @Links was trying to expand in the Chicago area, Kaye says, and quoted 25 to 30 days, while others says 60 to 90 days.

The chamber's coverage area consists of about 15 percent technology-based businesses and is heavily manufacturing, he notes. The cutoffs pose an enormous problem to DSL-dependent operations.

"We don't normally pitch business for our members," Kaye says. "But obviously, the sooner we get DSL up and running, the less damage is done."

@Links spokewoman Karen Kralios did not specify how much response the company has received from Chicago, but suggests there was more generated from e-mail than the toll-free number.

Kaye says long-term plans include approaching the Legislature about ailing DSL providers and finding a way to require advance notice of shutdowns.

"It's water under the bridge for this situation," he says.

Other companies targeting the woes of NorthPoint customers include Yipes Communications Inc., which took fewer than three days to set up service to customers in Chicago and Houston, it says. The company already was providing service to the buildings where the new customers were located.

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