America Online is becoming a driving force behind the deployment of ADSL.
In separate agreements, AOL has recently committed to wholesaling asymmetric digital subscriber line from Ameritech and GTE for the purpose of reselling it packaged with Internet access.
The AOL deal with Ameritech is big enough to move Ameritech's DSL deployment from on-hold to active, with Ameritech promising to equip its switching offices in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin with ADSL gear.
Ameritech's ADSL business plan called for wholesaling the service, but the carrier first wanted to clear up regulatory concerns about leasing parts of its network to other carriers.
The AOL deal gave Ameritech a big enough wholesale customer to resolve those concerns.
The AOL-GTE deal will increase the visibility of ADSL in GTE's coverage region. GTE currently provides ADSL in parts of 17 states across the U.S., including Washington, Oregon, California, Florida, Hawaii and Texas.
Ameritech later this year will also wholesale cable modem service to AOL in Chicago for high-speed Internet access packages. Ameritech.net will sell cable modem Internet access over the same network, proving it is technically feasible for more than one company to sell cable modem service over the same network.