Verizon offers managed telecommuter service

By Tim Greene, Network World |  Business

Verizon is now offering a managed telecommuter program that builds on its Virtual Office Service (VOS), launched earlier this year. Managed VOS provides a way for corporations to outsource work-at-home programs entirely.

To add the management features, Verizon enlisted the help of TManage, an Austin, Texas-based provider of managed telecommuter services.

Components of the service include evaluating a corporation's needs, setting up a Web site to enroll end users, billing and help desk.

VOS is now being sold primarily in Verizon's northeast territory, but end-user sites can be located anywhere in the U.S.

When the service first became available in January, it included analog, ISDN or DSL access to Verizon's managed IP network. User names and passwords are used for authentication, and users get connected either to the corporate LAN or the Internet. The corporation, rather than the end users, gets the bill.

Customers have to pay for the analog phone line, or ISDN or DSL service, plus an extra $14 per month for analog, $24 per month for ISDN, or $39.95 to $180 per month for DSL, depending on speed.

In addition to that basic service, customers could buy extras, including hosted e-mail, managed VPN service, flat-rate ISDN and voice mail.

With Managed VOS, Verizon adds services such as evaluating remote-worker needs and supplying office furniture. TManage will assess customers' workers and help decide which ones should be offered the option to work out of their houses. TManage also sets up a Web site, branded to look like it is the customer's site, that tells end users about the telecommuting program. If an end user is eligible, the site includes sign-up screens.

The program set-up fee costs $200 per end user for analog phone lines and $400 for ISDN, DSL or cable modem access. Managing the service costs extra, depending on the hours it is available. Management and help desk during regular working hours costs $60 per month per user; six days a week, 12 hours a day costs $70 per user per month; and 24-hours every day costs $80 per user per month.

Verizon already has additional enhancements on the drawing board that will start rolling out early next year. These include integrating ASP services, PBX extension to end-user homes, call-center connections and the ability to buy office supplies online from Staples.

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