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Copper Mountain to split stock

The maker of digital subscriber line equipment announces a 2-for-1 stock split, marking the latest indication that the emerging high-speed Net access technology is growing in popularity.

Copper Mountain Networks, a digital subscriber line (DSL) equipment maker, announced a 2-for-1 stock split today, marking the latest indication that the emerging high-speed Net access technology is growing in popularity.

The company's stock split, approved by the company's board of directors, will take effect for shareholders of record November 24. The stock, which closed higher than 6 percent, will begin trading on a split-adjusted basis December 10.

Copper Mountain is not the only DSL company to gain on Wall Street this week.

Stock in French telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel jumped more than 12 percent today after the company announced strong third-quarter financial results, including sales that were 9 percent higher than year-ago figures. Alcatel, one of the leading makers of the gear necessary for telecommunications companies to offer high-speed Net access over standard phone wires, also announced it has sold equipment with the capacity to serve 1 million DSL lines worldwide.

DSL is a technology that allows for voice phone calls and data to be transmitted simultaneously at high speeds over standard phone lines. The Baby Bells and many competitors are aggressively deploying service to compete with cable operators who are offering their own high-speed Net services.

Shares in a trio of national DSL service providers also have made modest gains this week on equity analyst upgrades and in advance of a closely watched federal regulatory ruling that could affect the providers' businesses. Although shares of Covad Communications and NorthPoint Communications are trading lower today, Rhythms NetConnections stock is trading more than 6 percent higher. NorthPoint and Covad signed DSL partnerships with GTE yesterday.

As of September 30, nearly 275,000 DSL lines had been deployed nationwide, according to TeleChoice, a broadband industry consulting firm. The company projects that the industry will end the year with 575,000 lines and expects DSL lines to total 2.1 million by the end of 2000 and 9.5 million by 2003.

Alcatel expects to have sold enough gear to serve as many as 1.3 million lines by the end of the year. Most market research firms peg Alcatel's DSL equipment market share at roughly 50 percent, spokesman Mark Burnworth said.

Last month, Alcatel signed an equipment contract to provide DSL capabilities to SBC Communications, a major local phone company.

"At first people talked a lot about cable modems winning the race," said Mike Guertin, a research analyst at TeleChoice. "What we're seeing this year is that that may not be the case…DSL has a higher growth rate."