DirecTV DSL Customers Get Extension


Soon-to-be-orphaned DirecTV DSL customers are apparently getting a two-week
reprieve to find another high-speed provider before their service is cut.

The digital-subscriber-line service, which parent company Hughes Network
Systems is shutting down, was to pull the network plug Thursday.

But many of DirecTV DSL's 160,000 customers have not transitioned to other
services since the announcement was made in December, prompting company
officials to extend the deadline.

A notice posted on the DirecTV DSL Web site ( warns
customers that if they do not make arrangements to switch over to another DSL
provider as of Jan. 31, their high-speed connections will go dark.

The service so far has reached transition agreements with SBC Communications
Inc., Verizon Communications and BellSouth Corp. to hand over customers in their
territories, but it failed to do so with Qwest Communications International

Customers in Qwest markets are being advised to disconnect their DSL service
and make arrangements with other providers.

DirecTV DSL's end comes after almost two years of red ink. Hughes acquired
competitive DSL provider Telocity Inc. in 2001 and relaunched it as DirecTV DSL,
but the unit struggled to compete with incumbent Baby Bells and consistently
lost money.

In the wake of the failed merger between Hughes' DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar
Communications Corp., the company decided to rethink its broadband strategy and,
in December, it announced that DirecTV DSL would be shut down.