NEW YORK - The Internet of today will not be the Internet of tomorrow, according to Bell Atlantic Corp. CEO Ivan Seidenberg.
As head of a company building one of the largest broadband networks in the country, Seidenberg used his keynote address here Thursday morning at Fall Internet World '99 to show how broadband, or "always-on" access, will change the Net, corporations and consumers.
Broadband is "taking the Internet from an isolated -- some would say alienating -- role to an integral part of life," he said.
In addition, increasing broadband's reach is "the single most important strategic imperative" for Bell Atlantic, he said.
The New York-based company's broadband network, he said, will reach 10 million households by the first quarter 2000 and expand to 20 million by the end of the year, carried on some 40 ISPs.
Seidenberg said that currently only about 5 percent of Internet users have broadband access. The company is also working with partners to deliver home networking services to customers.
A look ahead
Seidenberg said Bell Atlantic's pending merger with GTE Corp., with its GTE Internetworking division, will give the company more DSL coverage than any other carrier. GTE will also provide the company with wireless services, including remote Internet access.
Bell Atlantic also announced last month that it would combine its U.S. wireless operations with Vodafone AirTouch Plc's to create the nation's largest cell phone company. The two will form a separate wireless carrier in New York with 20 million customers -- twice as many as its closest competitor, AT&T Corp.
Seidenberg highlighted how several companies have already worked broadband access into their business models. America Online Inc., for example, has included a bandwidth detector in AOL Version 5.0 that will connect with a broadband line when available and deliver faster and specialized content.
Seidenberg alluded to, but did not directly comment on, the merger between MCI WorldCom Inc. and Sprint Corp. announced earlier this week.
(On Tuesday, Bell Atlantic issued a statement saying, in part, that "regulators have to be concerned that 80 percent of the long-distance market could be held by just two companies unless new competitors, including Bell Atlantic, are permitted to enter the market.")
Asked by an audience member about access to rural areas, Seidenberg said the federal government needs to alter its policies in order for those markets to be more effectively penetrated.
Bell Atlantic is at www.bellatlantic.com.