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AT&T opens private network

AT&T announces a new service for Net access customers that can guarantee levels of service on both sides of the connection.

LAS VEGAS--AT&T (T) announced a new service today for Net access customers that can guarantee levels of service on both sides of the connection.

The new WorldNet Virtual Private Network (VPN) Service uses the company's IP-based network to provide uptime of 99.7 percent for customers, according to AT&T. A VPN allows a secure tunnel to be created across the public Internet between two connection points.

The functions will allow remote users and corporations to access information on internal networks, or intranets, as well as tie elements of that data to third parties that need it--a process that has been dubbed an "extranet." AT&T hopes to garner a portion of this expanding market and outsource elements of network functionality normally supervised by corporate information systems departments.

The service, which will roll out next year, will guarantee levels of service. If a customer experiences a disruption, AT&T will issue a credit to their connection charges up to one month per year.

Pricing for the VPN service includes remote access charges for dial-up usage, a connection charge, and optional services, depending on customer needs. A dedicated link to AT&T's network starts at $103 for 16-kbps service.