Covad, Earthlink Trial Phone and Internet Service

Covad Communications Group and Earthlink Inc. said on Monday they would test a service offering telephone lines and high-speed Internet access to residential customers, aimed at competing with dominant phone and cable companies.

Earthlink, one of the larger U.S. Internet service providers, has seen its base of dial-up subscribers steadily erode due to competition from high-speed service. Earthlink's shares fell sharply last week after SBC Communications Inc., said it would offer broadband Internet access for $14.95 per month.

Covad and Earthlink said the trial would begin in October in Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle and San Jose, California. Pricing was not announced.

The service will use a technology known as a line-powered system. Covad will lease the copper wires running between customers' homes and the local telephone network, hooking those loops into Covad's own network.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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Lisa Minter
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