Bell Atlantic Says "Me, Too" Regarding DSL

Following quickly in the footsteps of GTE and Ameritech, Bell Atlantic says it will speed up its deployment of digital subscriber line services.

The company says customer demand for the high-speed dedicated access service prompted it to step up its schedule.

Until this week, Bell Atlantic planned to put DSL equipment into 353 switching offices by year-end. The plan now includes 700 switching offices. Bell Atlantic had originally planned to equip 805 offices by the end of next year, that number has been raised to 1,000.

The company would not say exactly how long it will take to get all of its 2000-plus switching offices upgraded, but acknowledged it would take years.

The offices that are on the schedule can service 21 million of the 43 million customer phone lines in the Bell Atlantic region, which stretches from Maine to Virginia.

This year, the company will focus on Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas as well as northern New Jersey. Other cities on the list include Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Greenwich, Connecticut.; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Norfolk, Virginia.; Springfield, Massachusetts and Wilmington, Delaware.

Later this year and early next year, the company will begin to deploy DSL in parts of New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.

Bell Atlantic calls its service Infospeed DSL. The service comes in download speeds ranging from 640K bits per second for $50 per month including Internet access to 7.1M bits per second for $205 per month.

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