RBOCs report strong demand for DSL services

Year 2000 DSL numbers for the regional Bell operating companies are finally in. The common thread? Explosive growth.

SBC ended the year with about 767,000 subscribers, Verizon with 540,000, Qwest with 255,000 and BellSouth with 215,000. In the fourth quarter alone, SBC added over 250,000 subscribers.

According to statistics from TeleChoice, at the end of 1999 all incumbent local exchange carriers (ILEC), including the RBOCs, had deployed 386,000 DSL lines. By the end of 2000, there were more than two million ILEC lines installed.

The RBOCs' largely residential asymmetric DSL customer bases dwarf those of the data LECs, which provide mostly business-class symmetric DSL lines. finished 2000 with about 275,000 customers, NorthPoint with 100,000 and Rhythms with 67,000.

Adam Guglielmo, an analyst with consultancy TeleChoice, says the RBOC numbers are about what his firm expected.

SBC fell well short of its stated target of one million lines by the end of 2000, but Guglielmo says missing the million mark shouldn't be taken as a sign of weakness.

"They might have said they'd have one million, but that doesn't mean we believed that's what they'd get," he says.

Guglielmo expects the RBOCs' DSL numbers to continue to rise, driven by increasing awareness of DSL technology and the spread of self-installable DSL kits, which don't require service providers to send a technician to a customer's site.

Video over DSL and voice over DSL should also become more widespread this year, he says.

Although Guglielmo expects RBOCs will begin to sell business-class DSL designed for small and midsize businesses, he says their focus should remain on the residential market.

This story, "RBOCs report strong demand for DSL services" was originally published by Network World.

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