BellSouth Expects DSL Subscribers To Double

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BellSouth, the No. 3 U.S. local telephone company, on Thursday said it expects its high-speed Internet subscriber base to nearly double in 2002 despite cautious customer spending in the weak economy.

BellSouth, the dominant local telephone company in nine states in the U.S. Southeast from Kentucky to Florida, said it ended 2001 with 620,500 DSL customers in 63 markets, an increase of 405,500 customers from a year earlier. It expects to have 1.1 million DSL subscribers by the end of 2002. DSL service transmits Internet access at high speeds over ordinary copper telephone wires.

The 2002 forecast matched Atlanta-based BellSouth's previous estimate. In November BellSouth said it expected to have $600 million in DSL revenues in 2002.

BellSouth last year said it would cut 4 percent of its work force in a move to cut costs as demand for basic telephone services eased in the weak economy.

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