ZoomTown.com, the broadband Internet subsidiary of Broadwing Inc. (NYSE: BRW), and OfCourse, Inc., a provider of online learning solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses, today announced the OfCourse online learning solutions are now available to businesses in Greater Cincinnati to help retain employees and enhance overall business performance.
Over the past several months, OfCourse has conducted beta testing with ZoomTown.com as a part of the Z-START (ZoomTown Strategic Technology and Advanced Research Testing) program. This program is designed to provide a real-world environment for testing broadband-dependent or broadband-enhanced applications before going to market. Z-START has helped several companies prepare applications for full-market deployment, including the recent launch of Intertainer, the nation's first network-wide deployment of IP based video-on-demand services.
"We are very pleased to be graduating OfCourse from our Z-START program," said Mike O'Brien, president of ZoomTown.com. "We have helped OfCourse validate the value and scalability of its application. Based upon what we have learned, we believe Greater Cincinnati businesses will find the application to be a very efficient and scalable way to educate and train employees."How OfCourse online learning works
Hosted by Broadwing, the OfCourse platform offers small- and medium-sized businesses an online learning environment containing thousands of courses grouped into "channels," or content organized by subject matter. Examples of channels include IT training, Business and Management skills, and OSHA Standards training. The OfCourse platform allows users to work at their own pace, pausing at any point in a given course by "book-marking" a convenient stopping point, and allows users to complete the course at a later time, at work, or even from home.
According to Steve Osborne, CEO, OfCourse Inc., OfCourse's online learning environment is significantly more cost-effective than traditional training and empowers small- and medium-sized businesses and their employees with the skills needed to succeed in the new economy.
"Training programs are invaluable to a business and its employees," said Osborne. "Companies with poor or no training are three times more likely to lose employees than those that offer training programs, and many top companies cite lack of training as a primary barrier to growth. Online learning is a flexible alternative that is convenient for the user and affordable to the business, and OfCourse combines the power of online learning with the very best training materials available to meet the needs of a variety of businesses."
According to Osborne, the Z-START program was a key part of helping prepare OfCourse for launch. "The Z-START Program helped us gain important insights into the usability of our offering from an end-users perspective, the way in which we communicate the benefits of this service to our customers, and the overall scalability of this product offering," said Osborne.
In addition to its development work with ZoomTown.com, OfCourse is providing its on-line learning solution to several local businesses including L█CRUM Inc., Panasonic, and Union Central Insurance and Investments.
"OfCourse allows us to offer a breadth and depth of training programs that companies our size can't typically provide," said John Bostick, CEO of L█CRUM Inc. "It's a great system and great education for our employees."
While the OfCourse solution can be used over a standard 56 Kbps modem, it is optimized over a broadband Internet connection. ZoomTown.com and OfCourse are teaming to offer ZoomTown.com's Business Class DSL or Dedicated T1 services to companies looking to fully utilize the OfCourse solution. Businesses interested in OfCourse or high-speed connectivity solutions can contact ZoomTown.com at 513-397-5281.
OfCourse is also offering a discount to members of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. For Chamber members, OfCourse will offer an additional channel of training for only $5 more per month, with a one-year commitment to a single channel of training. To take advantage of this offer, Chamber businesses can call 513-774-5404 or visit www.ofcoursecorp.com.About OfCourse
OfCourse is a privately held, Cincinnati-based corporation dedicated to helping small- and medium-sized companies improve business performance and employee retention through on-line education. OfCourse provides a turnkey online learning platform for corporations, telecommunication companies, and application service providers (ASPs) for internal use or for re-sale. The online learning solution provides an e-commerce front-end, a robust learning management system (LMS), and over 2,000 available titles from world-class courseware/content providers. Businesses can quickly assess the impact of online learning by completing a low-cost, easy-to-setup OfCourse pilot program. For more information about OfCourse, visit the company Web site at www.ofcoursecorp.com.About ZoomTown.com and Broadwing
With its award-winning ADSL network and one of the highest geographic penetrations of broadband subscribers in the nation, ZoomTown.com provides world-class Internet access to both business and residential customers in the greater Cincinnati area. In addition, ZoomTown offers Internet start-ups an unmatched real-world environment to successfully develop, run trials of and launch their services in a representative U.S. city. ZoomTown.com's Cisco Powered Network was awarded the SUPERQuest award for Best Built Public Network at SUPERCOMM 2000. ZoomTown.com can be found on the Web at www.zoomtown.com.
Broadwing Inc. (NYSE: BRW) is parent to two of the industry's leading communications companies, Broadwing Communications and Cincinnati Bell. Broadwing Communications, headquartered in Austin, Texas, leads the industry as the world's first intelligent, all-optical, switched network provider and offers businesses nationwide a competitive advantage by providing data, voice and Internet solutions that are flexible, reliable and innovative on its 18,500-mile optical network and its award-winning IP backbone. Cincinnati Bell is one of the nation's most respected and best performing local exchange and wireless providers with a legacy of unparalleled customer service excellence and financial strength. Cincinnati Bell provides a wide range of telecommunications products and services to residential and business customers in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Broadwing Inc. is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and has 6,400 employees in 56 sales and service offices across the country. For more information, visit www.broadwing.com.