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RealTime IT News

KPNQwest To Start Italian DSL Tests

KPNQwest has positioned itself as the first competitor to offer residential asynchronous digital subscriber line service in Italy, signing a provisioning agreement with national carrier Telecom Italia Wednesday.

The agreement comes after a long delay by Telecom Italia, which will fully unbundle the local loop in Milan and Turin by January, 2001. Tests using KPNQwest's equipment in the telco's central office begin Oct. 15 in Milan and Nov. 1 in Turin.

The pan-European company, a joint venture between telecommunications giants KPN from the Netherlands and U.S.-based Qwest Communications , is the first to sign with the telco and will most likely be the first company, outside Telecom Italia, to offer DSL services.

KPNQwest's entrance comes courtesy of its new ownership of COMM2000, an early DSL provider in Italy. In fact, it was the second company, after national carrier Telecom Italia, to publicly announce asynchronous DSL service in Italy last year, according to Marco Fiorentino, KPNQwest Italy country manager.

The service, Fiorentino, said, "was based on the 'virtual unbundling' of the local loop. Now, with 12 months experience in the DSL market and having secured agreements with Telecom Italia on full unbundling, we are in an ideal position to launch a highly-competitive commercial offer and engage in an ambitious roll-out of DSL services across Italy in January, 2001."

Paul van Doorn, KPNQwest managing director for DSL, said the Italian DSL service marks an important first step into Southern Europe.

"We believe that this deal is the first major step in expanding our pan-European DSL footprint into Southern Europe, rapidly expanding both our roll-out and service offerings to the Italian market," van Doorn said.

"Our position in Italy is further strengthened by leveraging our DSL offer with the EuroRing network and CyberCentres providing the fastest connections over the copper pair, delivering a suite of Internet services and bringing tangible benefits to more European businesses."

The entrance into the DSL market is likely a precursor to the eventual large-scale presence KPNQwest will maintain throughout Southern Europe. It is already one of the largest business Internet service providers in Europe, with operations in 15 countries.

The company has seven planned OC-192 "Euro" rings, which will cover most of northern, central and southwest Europe by the fall of 2001.

When completed, the rings will connect 20,000 kilometers of fiber-optics through 50 cities in Europe and the networks in North America and Asia. Missing from its deployment map is Italy, which will change as regulators further promote telecommunications competition.