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VersaPoint Moves on DSL in the U.K. and France

[London, ENGLAND] European broadband provider VersaPoint announced Wednesday its intention to offer digital subscriber line (DSL) services in the U.K. and France, following deals with BT and France Telecom.

In the U.K., VersaPoint will use BT's unbundled local loops for its DSL service, having secured colocation space for its equipment in BT exchanges. It will target London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, East Midlands, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Bristol, South Wales, Glasgow, Edinburgh, the North East region and Belfast.

In France, VersaPoint has secured a license that allows it to trial a DSL service in Paris using France Telecom's unbundled local loops. The trial will take place before the end of the year.

Based in the Netherlands, VersaPoint is the result of a partnership between Versatel Telecom and California-based NorthPoint Communications in March 2000. It is in the process of building a pan-European DSL network, adding to its existing network in the Netherlands and Germany.

Erik Ceuppens, vice president of business development for VersaPoint, claimed that progress in the U.K. and France was putting his company on the fast-track to becoming what he called "the clear leader in pan-European DSL."

"We are moving aggressively to extend and expand our broadband network to reach additional European countries as quickly as possible," said Ceuppens.

The speed of VersaPoint's roll-out of DSL services in Europe is restricted not only by regulatory conditions but also by the actual speed at which telcos unbundle their local loops. In the U.K., BT has been accused of dragging its corporate feet over this issue, an accusation denied by regulatory body OFTEL earlier in the week.