Companies Expand Broadband Alliance

Microsoft Corp. has expanded its
broadband service alliance with NorthPoint Communications.

Under the new agreement announced Thursday, NorthPoint (NPNT)
will serve as the preferred Digital Subscriber Line provider for
Microsoft’s MSN Internet Access offering
in Tandy Corp.’s RadioShack stores located within
NorthPoint’s network footprint.

Michael Malaga, NorthPoint chairman and chief executive officer, said the
deal was a logical extension of NorthPoint’s existing relationships with
Microsoft and RadioShack.

“We expect to accelerate consumer adoption of DSL by enabling millions of
Americans to walk into their local RadioShack retail store starting this
year, sample MSN Internet Access powered by NorthPoint DSL, and learn about
its many benefits from a knowledgeable sales staff,” Malaga said.

Jeff Sanderson, MSN general manager, said the two companies have partnered
effectively in the past and that the alliance would address the rapidly
growing demand for broadband services.

“Microsoft’s ‘store within a store’ in RadioShack retail locations
nationwide will be convenient to millions of Americans and feature a
complete consumer broadband service offering enabling individuals to
realize the Internet’s full, multi-media potential,” Sanderson said.

Leonard Roberts, Tandy (TAN)
chairman, president and chief executive officer, said their broadband
service bundle makes RadioShack’s home connectivity strategy a high-speed
force to reckon with.

“With one visit to their convenient neighborhood RadioShack store, millions
of American consumers will soon have an unprecedented opportunity to
participate in the broadband revolution that is sweeping across the
nation,” Roberts said.

NorthPoint DSL will be distributed through other Microsoft (MSFT)
sales channels and the two companies plan to develop live entertainment
vents and interactive gaming content designed for broadband consumers.

Malaga said NorthPoint would work with Microsoft to equip consumers with
broadband connectivity and offer enriched content.

“Content providers are increasingly developing content designed for the
growing number of broadband-enabled consumers,” Malaga said. “NorthPoint
and Microsoft are creating a new network architecture to help content
providers better reach the DSL subscribers we will serve.”


NorthPoint’s new agreement with Microsoft augments their existing alliance
with RadioShack that was forged in April 1999. Under the original
agreement, RadioShack crowned NorthPoint as its preferred DSL provider.

NorthPoint DSL services are scheduled for deployment to more than half of
the RadioShack stores nationwide before the end of this year. The DSL
provider currently operates a nationwide broadband network that serves 33
metropolitan markets. NorthPoint anticipates that their footprint will be
expanded to pass approximately half of all US homes and businesses by the
end of this year.

Malaga said that the Federal Communication
Commission’s
line-sharing ruling made in November 1999 has effectively
accelerated DSL service deployment and made copper-wire access a viable
choice for broadband consumers.

“The FCC’s line-sharing order unleashes broadband competition in the
consumer market and will result in innovation and choice for American
households,” Malaga said. “The FCC has set aggressive guidelines for the
implementation of line sharing this year and Nort

hPoint, along with its
strategic partners, looks forward to the opportunity to deliver the
benefits of broadband to more consumers.”

In December 1999, NorthPoint announced its first line sharing agreement
with U S West (USW)
in Minnesota.

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