BellSouth Adds 126K DSL Subs

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BellSouth Corp. -- the first regional Bell operating company to report fourth-quarter earnings -- added 126,000 digital-subscriber-line customers in the fourth quarter of 2003, a 13.5% sequential increase and 43% year-over-year hike.

"The results were strong and continue to be strong with ‘FastAccess,’" chief financial officer Ron Dykes said. FastAccess is BellSouth's sub-$30-per-month DSL-pricing package.

Dykes also said the company introduced a $4.95-per-month dial-up package to long-distance subscribers in the quarter, designed to create a feeder pool for future DSL additions.

On the DirecTV Inc. front, Dykes said the company is completing testing the service with employees and will begin Web-access ordering in the first quarter. In the second quarter, he added, other traditional inbound sales channels will be added.

"We see this as a way to supplant cable services and cement our access-line business," Dykes said. Consumer access lines fell 7.3% in 2003, he added.

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