Sprint enters ASP market

Consumers are the next target of the application service provider.

Sprint announced Thursday that it is the latest entrant into the booming business of serving up applications as needed from Web servers, joining everyone from AT&T to Intel in the fray.

But the long-distance service will enter the application service business with a twist, according to one party familiar with Sprint's plans. While it will target large businesses with its services first, consumers won't be far behind. The company will host everything from interactive games to distance learning to home management applications for individuals.

Its announcement tomorrow, however, will centre on delivering "e-business" applications such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and knowledge management software services to large corporations. The applications will reside on Sprint services "nodes", as part of its Integrated On-Demand Network, a high-speed network for carrying voice, video and other information as data packets.

Sprint is activating 17 nodes across the country to provide network software on-demand to businesses that have connections capable of receiving 1.5 million bits of data per second or more. The nodes will be in Akron, Ohio; Atlanta; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Chicago; Detroit; Elkdridge, Maryland; Fort Worth, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; New York City; Orlando, Florida; Pennsauken, New Jersey; Rialto, California; Roachdale, Indiana; Satsuma, Texas; Stockton, California; and Tacoma, Washington.

Sprint will align itself with a number of as-yet undisclosed software vendors to provide the business and consumer applications on demand.