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Covad Expands Broadband Network

Infrastructure company Covad Communications, Co. Thursday announced plans to expand its digital subscriber line services and now claims accessibility to 40 percent of homes and businesses in the United States.

Covad (COVD) added 49 metropolitan areas in 19 states to bring its network to 100 metropolitan areas around the country. Cities include Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Saint Louis, Milwaukee, Orlando, New Orleans, Hartford, Pittsburgh and Providence. The expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2000.

"Last mile access to customers is the most valuable asset in the telecommunications industry and Covad has the largest network of any national DSL provider," said Robert Knowling, Covad's president and chief executive officer. "By the end of 2000, no other broadband access provider will have Covad's reach."

The company will offer customers its TeleSpeed and TeleSurfer DSL packages, as well as virtual private networks in the newly wired areas. Covad's DSL services use standard copper telephone wires to provide fast, secure Internet or corporate network access for businesses and consumers that is "always-on."

DSL is predicted to surpass dial-up connections in the near future and is gaining ground against ISDN lines and cable modems as the connection of choice among Internet users.

Deployment of DSL lines in service in the US grew to 159,150 by the end of the second quarter 1999, more than tripling since the fourth quarter 1998 and more than doubling since first quarter 1999. Cable modem service, with about two years in the marketplace, has a good six-month lead on DSL and recently reached the million mark, with 800,000 lines in the US, according to a report by TeleChoice, Inc.