SBC Communications last week rolled out standardized national data services, letting SBC business customers get the same speed, service level and pricing options across the U.S.SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS -\u00a0SBC Communications\u00a0last week rolled out standardized national data services, letting SBC business customers get the same speed, service level and pricing options across the U.S.Until last week, SBC's pricing, speeds and service-level agreements varied even within SBC's four primary regional units - SBC Southwestern Bell, SBC Pacific Bell, SBC Ameritech and SBC Nevada Bell."Now a customer with offices across all four territories and across the country can get the same options in terms of ordering, provisioning, speeds and pricing," says Mark Fischler, vice president of product management for data networking at SBC.The standardized plans will cover frame relay, ATM and private-line services. Currently, long-distance options are available only in SBC's Southwestern Bell territory. Long-distance service will be offered as an option in SBC's SNET territory later this year. The other regions will be added as long as SBC wins more long-distance approvals from the Federal Communications Commission.As an example of how the standardized plans will help customers, Fischler points to California, where SBC customers wanting fractional DS-1 services previously could choose only between 128K and 384K bit\/sec speeds. Now those customers can choose between 128K , 256K , 384K , 512K and 768K bit\/sec.SBC also continues to deploy its national backbone network. When it's finished, the network will be fully redundant with a core speed of OC-192. SBC plans to use\u00a0Multi-protocol Label Switching\u00a0to let the backbone carry a variety of service offerings.The backbone should be completed by mid-2003, Fischler says. A lack of FCC approval for long-distance services in all of SBC's local markets is holding the provider back, he says.In addition to the standardized service schemes, SBC now offers customers business-continuity plans. The plans include features such as alternate routing and disaster recovery.SBC's long-distance strategy will mirror the previously announced plans of fellow regional Bell operating companies Verizon and BellSouth. SBC will focus on selling long-distance services to companies that are already SBC local customers. The national backbone and standardized plans will let SBC offer long-distance to those customers' branch offices anywhere in the U.S., once SBC wraps up its long-distance approvals.