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Covad Ties Up Line Sharing Agreement With Bell Atlantic

National Digital Subscriber Line service provider Covad Communications Co. Monday entered into a regional agreement to share high-speed phone lines with Bell Atlantic Corp.

Under the agreement, Covad locked in a monthly line rate of $0 per line along with other monthly recurring charges totaling less than $3.00 and various nonrecurring charges.

All other competitive DSL providers in the Bell Atlantic service region will pay the same rates. The rates associated with line sharing will be subject to final review by individual state Public Utility Commissions.

Bell Atlantic committed to have its entire territory ready to begin line-sharing installations no later than early July.

In November of 1999, the Federal Communications Commission required local incumbent phone companies, like Bell Atlantic, share existing phone lines with competitive carriers like Covad, by June 6, 2000. As expected, the ruling opened the door to increasing competition among broadband service providers using DSL technology.

Dhruv Khanna, Covad executive vice president and general counsel, said the company was pleased to have completed the third of four major agreements necessary to implement the FCC's line sharing mandate.

"Today's agreement is good news for consumers in Bell Atlantic's territory and, with negotiations ongoing with SBC, puts us that much closer to bringing a choice of broadband service to consumers across the entire country, " Khanna said.

The deal follows recent similar agreements that Covad reached with BellSouth Corp. and US WEST .

Covad is currently negotiating contracts with Sprint Corp. , SBC Communications, Inc. and its subsidiaries, as well as Bell Atlantic merger-partner GTE Corp.