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EarthLink Taps Into GTE's DSL Services

EarthLink Network Inc. Monday struck a deal with GTE Internetworking to expand its Digital Subscriber Line services throughout the U.S.

The arrangement boosts EarthLink's existing nationwide DSL network service offering launched in July through a partnership with Sprint Communications Co.

GTE currently operates more than 500 DSL-ready central offices in its respective service territories. GTE intends to expand its DSL service offering heavily throughout the rest of the nation over the next year.

The companies have performed preliminary data tests since early this year. The commercial launch of EarthLink-GTE DSL service is currently being tested in Los Angeles. The companies plan to launch services in another 20 U.S. markets during the fourth quarter of this year.

Jon Irwin, EarthLink senior vice president of broadband services, said the national ISP is anticipating solid demand from their membership to upgrade their standard connections to high-speed services.

"Our members already rely heavily on EarthLink's fast and reliable dial-up connections, so as a national ISP it's also important for us to be able to offer DSL and other high-speed services when our members are ready to upgrade" Irwin said.

"Our members are very active Internet users; they each average about 42 hours online per month. We're seeing a lot more demand for broadband services as more and more EarthLink members learn how much more they can get out of the 'Net with a fast connection," he added.

By tapping into both GTE's and UUNET's national DSL networks, as well as Sprint and Pacific Bell DSL networks, EarthLink will be able to offer service to millions of homes across the country through thousands of local central offices.

Initial plans indicate call for the service to cost about $50 a month.



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