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Can DSL Catch Cable?

Techstination feature for Tuesday, May 20, 2003

When it comes to broadband... can DSL catch cable? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Cable companies have a big lead on local phone companies in attracting customers for high speed Internet services. Verizon is teaming up with Microsoft to try to change that. The biggest local phone company has increased the speed of its DSL service and dropped the price... to as low as 30 dollars a month for its voice service customers. That includes Microsoft's MSN 8 features such as parental controls... .and unlimited access to wireless hotspots the company is building out, initially in New York City. Verizon senior V.P. James Otterbeck...

"We really view 802.11 as an access technology that allows our existing customers, whether they're at work, at home or on the go, to have access to their data network. And it's exclusively for Verizon Online customers but is a free access technology. So today we have activated 150 hotspots throughout Manhattan and by year end will have a thousand hotspots around New York City."

Verizon isn't saying when service will be rolled out to other cities. About the dent the company hopes to make in cable's broadband lead Otterbeck says...

"Most cable companies only enjoy anywhere from an 8 to 12 percent overall penetration level. So that still leaves 80 to 90 percent of the market, which is really the mass market."

In many markets, it will be the beginning of real broadband competition... which could benefit consumers. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.