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Sympatico Connecting Over a Million Canadians to Internet

[Montreal, CANADA] Bell Canada says that its Sympatico Internet Service provider (ISP) now has more than one million residential customers nationally--nearly 800,000 dial-up and more than 200,000 high-speed.

"Not only do Canadians choose Sympatico as their favorite ISP overall, but Bell will exceed its Sympatico High Speed Edition customer target for Ontario and Quebec in 2000, and we are signing up more new customers today than any of our competitors," said Bell Canada president, John Sheridan.

Bell has recently taken a leading role among major North American telcos in DSL high-speed access.

It has the highest penetration rate, growing from 0.7 percent of total homes at the beginning of the year to 3 percent today--a more than four-fold increase, and the highest coverage growing from 40 percent to 65 percent of total homes over the same time period.

"Canada is a world leader in Internet access and in Internet usage per capita," said Sheridan.

He noted that recent initiatives from the Federal and provincial governments have supported this development.

Last week, for example, the Alberta government announced a partnership with Bell to build and implement a high-speed Internet network that will connect the province's communities, learning institutions, hospital facilities, and libraries.

The Federal government has also announced that it will work with the private sector to ensure that all Canadian communities have high-speed access by 2004, and Bell expects to play a major role there.

Bell has been investing $1.5 billion in its high-speed access network, and the company carries the vast majority of Canada's Internet traffic on its IP/broadband network. In addition, Bell's Sympatico.ca Web site is the most-visited Canadian portal.

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