Demand for Faster Internet Access Creates Boon for Dallas-based Efficient Networks The Need for Speed

If you’re among the Internet-active Dallasites who have better things to do than wait on slow-poke modems, chances are you’re already considering DSL service, a super-fast alternative to the old click-and-wait approach to Internet access. DSL service is offered locally by various Internet service providers, such as Earthlink, Internet America, and Verio, which install a DSL modem or router at the customer’s home or business. The world’s foremost manufacturer of these devices. Efficient Networks, is headquartered in Dallas.

DSL is shorthand for Digital Subscriber Line, a communications technology that brings the Internet to homes, small offices, and businesses through a normal phone line at speeds many times faster than a traditional modem. Unlike dial-up modems. DSL provides a dedicated, “always on” connection to the Internet.

Efficient Networks was an early pioneer of the DSL market. Founded in 1993. the company in 1997 led the industry’s rapid move to DSL technology for highspeed Internet access. Thanks to the relationships it has developed with approxi-mately 60 network service providers. Efficient has become the world’s leading provider of DSL devices at end-user locations.

In hindsight, Efficient couldn’t have chosen a hotter market. Demand for DSL is exploding-in North America and around the world. DSL soared past two million subscribers last year; analysts are predicting at least two million more users this year and a total of about 10 million subscribers by 2003. By then. International Data Corporation predicts, DSL will surpass cable modems globally and become “the consumer broadband access service of choice.”

Few are questioning the analysts’ pro-jections-certainly not key Efficient customers, such as SBC. Covad, and North Point. Efficient recently announced a $45 million contract with SBC, which is investing $6 billion to launch DSL services in 13 states-and plans to make DSL services available to 80 percent of its customers by 2003. Covad expects to serve 100 metro areas by the end of this year compared to 51 at the end of 1999. And NorthPoint plans to reach more than 110 metro areas with DSL by the end of 2000.

The high demand bodes well for Efficient. To keep pace, the company has lined up extra manufacturing capacity and in January, moved into impressive new offices in North Dallas, near Addison.

“We moved to the larger facility to accommodate the rapid growth we have experienced,” said Jack Brooks. Efficient’s Vice President of Human Resources. “Efficient Networks” commitment to providing a full range of broadband access products is succeeding. Customers are choosing Efficient Net works, and we want a great working environment so that potential employees will choose us. too.”

For a technology company, hiring qualified people is a perpetual challenge. Efficient has seen its employment surge from 67 at the beginning of 1999 to 393 today. Currently, Brooks noted. Efficient Networks has over 100 jobs available, mostly positions requiring degrees and experience in communications, engineering, management, and marketing.

The company goes to great lengths to attract and retain the best in its business. In addition to its spacious new office facility. Efficient supplements generous pay and benefits with such amenities as causal dress, a fitness center, and Friday afternoon socials.

Not all of Efficient’s employees are in Dallas. The recent acquisition of FlowPoint, which bolstered Efficient’s product offerings for business-class DSL service, has given Efficient Networks a significant presence in Silicon Valley. Efficient Networks also has offices in Amsterdam and Singapore and maintains over 12 satellite offices worldwide.

But management isn’t staking its future on DSL alone. “DSL is just one facet of the opportunities available in broadband communications networks,” said Mark Floyd, Efficient’s president and chief executive officer. “Our goal is to become a formidable networking company. To do that, we’re leveraging our DSL success into related areas.”

In March, the company announced plans to acquire NetScreen Technologies. based in Santa Clara, Calif. NetScreen markets a strong line of network security products for e-businesses, enterprises, and network sendee providers. “Other expansion moves are also being considered.” Floyd said.

It’s far too early to call Efficient Networks another Cisco, but so far, like the DSL technology it enables, the company seems to be “always on.”

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