U.S. Carrier Buys 6.7 Percent Stake in Indian ISP

LONDON (03/17/2000) - India's nascent broadband Internet access market is attracting the attentions of U.S. telecommunications companies.

U.S. carrier CenturyTel Inc. has taken a stake in Madras, India-based ISP (Internet service provider) DishnetDSL Ltd., the company announced in a statement yesterday. DishnetDSL provides dial-up ISDN (integrated services digital network) and DSL (digital subscriber line) Internet access in India under the name ETH.

CenturyTel made a US$22.9 million equity investment to acquire 6.67 percent ownership of the venture, and will also have one representative on DishnetDSL's board of directors, CenturyTel said in the statement.

At the end of 1999, the company had 18,000 subscribers in 16 cities, and it hopes to reach 44 cities by the end of this quarter. CenturyTel is taking the stake because of the potential it sees in the DSL market throughout India and Asia, the company's chief executive officer said in the statement.

DishnetDSL is currently contracting with commercial building owners for long term usage of internal copper wiring to offer DSL access, according to the statement.

CenturyTel, in Louisiana, can be reached at +1-318-388-9000, or at http://www.centurytel.com/. DishnetDSL, in Chennai, India can be found on the Web at http://www.eth.com/.

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