by

By RIVA RICHMOND
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

January 30, 2006; Page B6

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113858515229259640.html?mod=technology_main_
whats_news

EarthLink Inc. plans to begin offering a high-speed Internet and
online-calling package for consumers in three metropolitan markets
through
an expanded partnership with Covad Communications Group Inc.

EarthLink, based in Atlanta, was set to offer the service in the San
Francisco and San Jose, Calif., area, as well as Dallas and Seattle
starting this week.

The Covad partnership, terms of which weren’t disclosed, will allow
the
Internet-service provider to offer a competitive digital-subscriber
line,
or DSL, and Internet-telephone service without having its own
agreements
with telecommunications companies.

That is important because the Federal Communications Commission ruled
in
August that phone companies no longer would be required to lease line
capacity to competing ISPs like EarthLink and Time Warner Inc.’s
America
Online under common carrier regulations, threatening the ISPs’ ability
to
offer competitively priced DSL services.

However, common carrier rules still require incumbent carriers to
lease the
connections between consumers’ homes and their central offices to
competing
carriers like Covad.

“By us moving in this direction, we are jumping on the piece of the
regulation that remains intact,” said Jim Bagnato, EarthLink’s
director of
voice services.

EarthLink said it intends to bring its offering with Covad to other
major
metropolitan areas.

Covad, San Jose, Calif., whose relationship with EarthLink dates back
at
least seven years, has access to 40 million households. Its top
markets are
New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington.


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