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Compaq takes up telco services

Compaq and a Wildfire are installing telephone services technology at Louisiana's Century Telephone Enterprises on a trial basis.

Compaq Computer (CPQ) and Wildfire announced they are installing telephone services technology at Louisiana's Century Telephone Enterprises (CTE) on a trial basis.

Wildfire's software product acts as a "personal assistant" for callers. In addition to providing basic voice mail capabilities, it dials numbers with a voice prompt, identifies callers, stores up to 150 names and numbers, stores and forwards faxes, and facilitates conference calls.

The service will be installed at CTE with Compaq ProLiant servers running a Unix environment from Santa Cruz Operation (SCO), with which Compaq signed a strategic alliance last summer.

"Wildfire's decision to use Compaq as our development and deployment platform was driven by Compaq's clear direction to move aggressively into the telecom carrier market," said Wildfire's vice president of operations, Seth Newberry, in a statement announcing the companies' collaboration. Newberry cited Compaq servers' reliability and performance as other motivations for the choice.

Compaq's interest in the telecommunications market is seen as an attempt to establish the company in a market where servers based on the Windows NT operating system are thought to be insufficiently reliable.

Also this week, Compaq joined Intel, Microsoft, and a host of telecommunications companies and equipment vendors in announcing a plan for installing and implementing "splitterless" asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) technology. The companies will work together to promote the high-speed Internet access technology as a part of a consortium called the Universal ADSL Working Group. (See related story)