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Alcatel Spreading DSL Wealth in China

Building on a longstanding relationship, Alcatel will help China Telecom deploy 1.3 million DSL lines, the latest in a slew of recent industry deals from emerging markets.

"With our local expertise and global experience in broadband, I am confident that Alcatel will continue to work hand-in-hand with China Telecom to drive the broadband development in China," Michel Rahier, COO of Alcatel's Fixed Communications Group, said in a statement.

The French telecom equipment maker's 7300 Advanced Services Access Manager will be used in 15 provinces and cities across the southern part of the country, including Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi.

Once the project is complete next month, China Telecom can offer high-speed Internet access, broadcast video, video-on-demand and video-streaming services to its customers.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center, the country is the fastest-growing broadband market in the world, with 17 million users as of June 2004. And more than 80 percent of broadband subscribers in China use DSL.

Alcatel has been in China since 1984 when its first and largest joint venture, Shanghai Bell, was established. Since then, it has formed 17 joint ventures in the country and, in 1995, established an R&D and manufacturing center.

Four years ago, Alcatel became the first major telecom company to establish its Asia-Pacific headquarters in China, a spokeswoman said.

For years, Alcatel and its sector counterparts have talked about the promise of China because of its large population, burgeoning economy and relative lack of traditional infrastructure.

Now, Chinese telecoms are beginning to place big orders for gear, including broadband and third-generation wireless equipment.

Just yesterday, Nortel Networks announced a major organizational and strategic overhaul, which includes increased emphasis on China. And Cisco Systems in its most recent quarterly report said business from China was up 40 percent over the same period last year.

Financial terms of the deal between Alcatel and China Telecom were not disclosed.