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VersaPoint Launches German DSL Services

[London, ENGLAND] Pan-European DSL service provider VersaPoint announced Thursday the launch of broadband services in Germany.

Based in the Netherlands, Versapoint was formed earlier this year by Californian company NorthPoint Communications and Holland's Versatel Telecom N.V. In June it launched the first phase of a highly ambitious scheme to build Europe's largest broadband network, offering services in major cities in Holland.

Michael Malaga, chief executive officer of VersaPoint, said the launch of the German service was a milestone for broadband competition in Europe.

"The telecom experience and assets we have inherited from Versatel and NorthPoint, along with the pan-European scope of our network, distinguishes VersaPoint as the premier broadband provider in Germany," claimed Malaga.

Within a year, VersaPoint believes it will be able to offer a broadband service to nearly 50 percent of German businesses. It already covers the North Rhine Westfalia region via Internet service provider Versatel Germany, while early in 2001 it will serve Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart.

DSL broadband enables Internet connections at speeds up to 1.5 Mbps. The VersaPoint service means that ISPs in both the Netherlands and Germany will be able to connect with a single communications provider for DSL services.

As one of the fastest growing broadband service providers in the United States, NorthPoint has plenty of experience in the rapid roll-out of DSL networks. It recently announced plans to merge its business with Verizon's DSL operations.

With Europe's largest telcos entering the arena, competition in the broadband market is likely to become intense in the next two or three years. Some analysts have already predicted difficulties for smaller operators who may currently be big in broadband but are small in comparison to the giant telcos.

"Always-on" high speed Internet access remains largely a dream for consumers in the U.K., where many major operators have recently withdrawn services, citing unsustainable costs as the main reason.