NorthPoint Communications Group
Inc. Tuesday announced that it successfully secured operational
line-sharing agreements with all major incumbent local exchange carriers in
line-sharing agreements with Bell Atlantic Corp.
, SBC Communications Inc.
and its subsidiaries, Bell South Corp.,
and U S West Inc.
provide lower rates for shared local loops.
As a result of the line-sharing agreements NorthPoint’s average cost for
shared loops will be less than half the price of current stand-alone loops.
The deals stand as a breakthrough in the digital subscriber line provider’s
ability to deliver broadband communications to U.S. consumers.
Liz Fetter, NorthPoint president and chief executive officer, said line
sharing would make DSL-based broadband services more affordable and
available to millions of American consumers.
“Combined with NorthPoint’s aggressive deployment of g.lite technology and
its alliance with RadioShack
Corp. and MSN, NorthPoint is ideally
positioned to take advantage of this major milestone,” Fetter said.
NorthPoint struck alliances with RadioShack
and Microsoft Corp.
branded MSN Internet access to distribute NorthPoint DSL
high-speed access. NorthPoint and RadioShack this month intend to launch
service in selected Dallas and San Francisco stores and will expand service
availability to other markets throughout the year.
Leonard Roberts, RadioShack chairman, president and chief executive
officer, said with NorthPoint, it would make it easy for consumers to
sample and order DSL access.
“Line sharing will make the benefits of broadband available to more
American consumers and will play a major role in unlocking the huge
potential of the Internet,” Roberts said.
Line sharing enables competitive carriers like NorthPoint to offer DSL
service over the same line used by incumbent carriers to deliver voice
service. Prior to line sharing, competitive DSL providers were forced to
purchase costly stand-alone lines to deliver DSL services.
In November 1999, the Federal Communications
Commission ordered incumbent local exchange carriers to permit line
sharing to end their arbitrary advantage and to give competitive service
providers access to residential lines. The FCC’s order takes effect today,
when all ILECs are required to have line-sharing agreements in place.
Gaining access to shared lines in the delivery of DSL services should open
the floodgates for vibrant competition in the residential DSL market.
In addition to operating cost benefits, line sharing significantly
simplifies the DSL provisioning process, making it faster and easier for
consumers to access high-speed DSL services.
Through the use of splitterless self-installed DSL modems, broadband access
is easier for consumers to set up in less than 10 days. NorthPoint provides
a self-install instruction kit that does not require the assistance of a
trained field technician to install DLS service.
Currently, NorthPoint is utilizing line sharing for service in seven
markets, including New York and San Francisco. Beginning in the third
quarter, the company will offer residential DSL service in all of its U.S.