AT&T Files to Offer Local Service in D.C.
AT&T, Basking Ridge, N.J., has filed an application with the D.C. Public Service Commission to provide local telephone service in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this month, the D.C. City Council approved a bill to open the local service market. The district's Control Board, Congress and Mayor Marion Barry still must approve the bill before it is finalized.
AT&T plans to eventually offer local, long distance, on-line, wireless and entertainment services to individuals and businesses in Washington.
Campaign to Reopen Pennsylvania Avenue Goes Digital
Companies and government officials increasingly have been exposed to the grassroots power of the Internet. Now a government official is using it to help in his own grassroots efforts. U.S. Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., has created a World Wide Web site where people can comment on the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House.
The street was closed to protect the president after the Oklahoma City bombing. The resulting traffic snarls have had some local residents up in arms, not to mention the D.C. government, which misses the revenue from parking meters in the area.
Grams will keep the site up until June 28, which coincides with the end of the National Park Service's public comment period on its plans to permanently close the area to traffic.
The "Returning Pennsylvania Avenue to the People" home page is located at: http://www.senate.gov/~grams/pennave.html
Wall Street Gets a Wireless Network
GTE Corp., Stamford, Conn., has signed a deal with the New York Stock Exchange to replace its current system using phones and slips of paper with a wireless data network.
About 1,200 brokers and NYSE staffers will get custom hand-held computers and wireless radios for use on the trading floor. The system should speed the flow of data and allow brokers to move about the floor while in constant communication.
Brokerage firm assistants now use pagers or phones to alert those on the floor of buy or sell orders. Then the broker contacts the assistant through a cellular or fixed-line phone to get more specific information. After writing the information on slips of paper, the broker hands the paper to a third person.
The new network would allow two-way data transmission. The system will complete the NYSE's $125 million Integrated Technology Program, which is the largest capital investment the exchange has ever made in technology.
Win Some, Lose Some
Maynard, Mass.-based Digital Equipment Corp.'s plan to dominate important portions of the information technology market includes a closer scrutiny of new business opportunities.
In some cases, Digital will not participate in programs where it is the incumbent, said James R. O'Neill, vice president and general manager of the company's federal government region. His unit has snagged three key contracts in the past two months.
"For a long time, Digital and other large companies would spend an incredible amount of money, and... just shotgun. If there were 100 [contracts] out there, we would find the resources to bid all 100 and then sometimes we would win and sometimes we wouldn't," O'Neill said in an interview.
But while the days of bidding for the sake of bidding are over at Digital, not all of its competitors share this religion. "We still see a lot of our competitors bidding things that there's no way they would win," O'Neill said.
The concept also has met some resistance at Digital. O'Neill said he had to explain to company vice presidents a decision not to bid "a very large program with one of the agencies that we as a company have been tracking for quite some time." His decision proved unpopular but stuck.
"We could have bid the program and spent a lot of money, and if we were fortunate enough to win it, we could have spent an incredible amount of money. We would have had incredible customer dissatisfaction," he said.
Overall, O'Neill is striving "to balance our portfolio in this region to civilian agencies." His unit will pursue more business related to veterans, census and agriculture programs. "You will see a lot more wins on that side of the house," O'Neill said.
Telco/Cable Alliance Would Come to Virginia First
Bell Atlantic, Philadelphia, and Denver-based Jones Communications, claim to have formed the United States' first phone-cable deal under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Jones would provide residential and business phone service through digital switching and fiber optic cable TV lines. Bell Atlantic's infrastructure would fill in the gaps where Jones lacks presence.
Phone services, such as caller ID, would work across both systems. The two companies have so far filed only with the Federal Communications Commission to offer the service in Virginia.
Inside vs. Outsource
As the computer services market's appetite for outsourced labor continues to grow, more integrators are weighing the costly consequences of a complex test used by the Internal Revenue Service to determine whether a worker should be classified as an in-house employee or an outside contractor.
The 20-point test has become increasingly hazardous inside the computer services market where thousands of value-added resellers and large integrators such as Electronic Data Systems Corp. often augment their services offerings with outside talent. Any worker found to be wrongly classified during an IRS audit will end up costing the reseller huge fines and back taxes.
"I'm sure EDS would like to hire a lot of employees with advanced client/server skills, but there are not a whole lot of people out there with four years SAP experience," said Christine Ferrusi-Ross, an analyst with Dataquest Corp. SAP is a German client/server software company. Ferrusi-Ross said the length of time it takes to hire employees often works against the industry's fast-paced integration contracts.