Verizon Courts SMBs With New Perk

By Colin C. Haley
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Looking for an edge over upstart telecoms and Internet service providers, New York-based Verizon Thursday launched a new portal for its small and medium business customers.

Besides tools to manage accounts, Verizon Business Center includes: news reports; stock prices; industry papers; and online classes.

Catherine Hogan Lewis, a Verizon spokesperson, said the new portal was the latest move to reach out to the small business sector. Other efforts include bundled voice and data services, wireless services, Internet security services and Web hosting.

The content and services are supplied by FluentMedia, the content licensing arm of the Tribune Company. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Chicago-based FluentMedia draws material from Tribute newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Newsday, as well as wire services, trade publications and other sources.

Verizon recently committed $3 billion to upgrade its wireless and wireline networks to new Internet protocol technology. The moves will allow the carrier to offer new services such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling and greater mobility.

The company's smaller competitors, such as Broadview Networks, contend that they can better serve the SMB market because it is their primary focus.

It's a claim Verizon hopes to rebut with announcements like Thursday's.

Adapted from internetnews.com.
This article was originally published on January 16, 2004

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