Business News – Reseller Looks Lightyear Ahead

Posted: 06/2000

Business News

Reseller Looks Lightyear Ahead
By Bruce Christian

UniDial, which has been merging data, voice and Internet in its national network for eight years, announced April 24 that it has become Lightyear Communications, and word already is spreading at the speed of light.

With the name change comes a new business strategy, says Senior Vice President G. Henry Hunt.

“(The name change) is just a reflection of where the industry has gone, and very much so where our group has gone during the past two years,” explains Hunt. “The ‘Uni’ or the convergence standpoint was in ‘UniDial’, and we looked at several names that had the ‘Uni’ or ‘verge’ syllable in it. I think the ‘Dial’ technology did not. It was the part that gave us problems.”

In the process of settling on its new name, the company discussed possibilities with analysts, consultants, engineers, sales people and customers and kept hearing that “dial” carries an out-dated connotation, Hunt says.

“We have always been and will always continue to be a very customer-oriented company, and one of the things that we sought with the name and the way we were translating it both internally and to our customers is a promise, that through integrating the communications services we are going to keep our customers light-years ahead of the competitors, and the competitive situation,” says Hunt.

This may come to pass through the introduction of IADs that combine data, voice and Internet into a single ATM, packetized T1 line. Traditionally, two or three lines are required, Hunt says. Accelerated Networks Inc.
( developed the

According to a prepared release explaining its plans, Lightyear’s switches will unbundle the packets and send them across the appropriate provider lines, without the use of a router. Because of the single T1 line and the elimination of the router, Hunt says a savings of about $2,400 per month per application is predicted.

Hunt says he believes Lightyear’s equity partners, MCI WorldCom Inc.
( and Williams Communications (
are an advantage to ensure its goals will be met.

The leap to integrated communications is a logical one, Hunt says.

“This is proven technology. We are actually taking the voice and routing it out. We are collocating our equipment with Williams and WorldCom. It allows us quicker deployment, less cost and we are eventually riding their backbone for our voice, data and Internet, we are doing the routing switching, but we are taking it into their strength, which is the long-haul,” Hunt says.

This relationship is what Lightyear sees as its key to growth. It expects to be in 24 cities by the end of 2001.

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