MSN Lands Telco Deals


While the troubles at Excite@Home Corp. have thrown into question
what opening screen cable-modem subscribers from AT&T Broadband, Cox
Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. may see in the coming months, it's clear
who the regional Bell operating companies are aligning with: Microsoft Corp.

The software giant announced digital-subscriber-line distribution deals
Monday with Verizon Communications, BellSouth Corp. and SBC Communications Inc.
during a conference call to discuss the release of MSN 7.0.

MSN already supplies content to Qwest Communications International Inc. for
its DSL service. And last month, MSN signed its first cable affiliate, Charter
Communications Inc., to supply a Charter-branded MSN Broadband home page for
Charter's cable-modem subscribers.

MSN claimed that its MSN Broadband service would be available to 29 million
homes in 45 markets through the RBOC deals beginning Oct. 25. By March 31, 2002,
MSN said, MSN Broadband will be available to 90 percent of DSL-capable

MSN said its new 7.0 software downloads pages 30 percent faster than its
older service. MSN Broadband also features audio- and video-streaming content,
through Microsoft's 'Windows Media Player,' from content providers such as ESPN,
CNBC, MSNBC, E! Entertainment Television, Discovery Communications Inc. and the
2002 Winter Olympic Games.

In other DSL news, DirecTV Broadband expanded its distribution deal with
Verizon to offer DirecTV DSL in Los Angeles; Dallas; Seattle; Tampa, Fla.; and
Portland, Ore.