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BellSouth calls on Dell for DSL help

The telecommunications provider and the computer maker sign a deal to jointly provide buyers of Dell machines with high-speed Net access.

BellSouth on Thursday signed a deal with Dell Computer to jointly provide customers with high-speed Net access.

Under the agreement, Dell's computers will include preinstalled DSL (digital subscriber line) modems and preloaded software to support BellSouth's high-speed Internet access service. Altanta-based BellSouth said it expects the joint offering to be available in the second quarter of this year.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Like many telecommunications providers, BellSouth has been busy finding ways to drive growth in its DSL business. Although DSL, which provides high-speed Internet access, has enjoyed explosive growth in recent years, the overall economic downturn has prompted some consumers to shy away from the higher-cost service.

Although slowing DSL growth has troubled some communications players, BellSouth last quarter exceeded targets for DSL customers and reported strong growth in that line of business.

BellSouth said it is also working with Dell to launch sales and marketing initiatives as part of the agreement. The new joint offering will be available to residential customers in the BellSouth region, which covers several states in the southeastern United States.