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Verizon, BellSouth Post Strong DSL Gains

Alan Breznick

Cable operators must be hearing footsteps by now. The relentless broadband march of the Baby Bells continued in the fourth quarter as Verizon Communications racked up industry-record high-speed data gains and BellSouth enjoyed another strong quarter for DSL. Double-teaming cable operators with its established DSL lines and its expanding fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network, Verizon signed up a whopping 613,000 new data customers in Q4, boosting its total to 5.1 million and probably replacing Time Warner Cable as North America's third biggest broadband player. In its quarterly earnings report released earlier today, Verizon did not break down the gains between its older DSL product and its brand new FiOS Internet service. But it boasted that DSL and FiOS combined to deliver 1.7 million net new broadband customers in 2005. Still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Katrina, BellSouth did not strut its stuff nearly as much as Verizon in its Q4 earnings report Wed. But the Baby Bell did report that it added 204,000 DSL subscribers in the fall quarter, down just a touch from its strong Q3 results and down just a bit more from its even stronger gains in the year-ago period. The company, which raised its total DSL customer count to 2.8 million, has now enlisted more than 200,000 broadband customers In four out of the last five quarters.

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