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Covad debuts high-speed access

Covad Communications announces high-speed remote access in the Bay Area for as low as $90 per month, with a national rollout planned for next year.

A start-up called Covad Communications today is announcing high-speed remote access in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Silicon Valley, for as low as $90 per month, with a national rollout planned for next year.

As previously reported by CNET'S NEWS.COM, Covad was expected to provide the access over copper phone wires, known as DSL (digital subscriber lines) this year, largely aimed at telecommuters. Today the company provided pricing details.

The service, dubbed TeleSpeedSM, will be offered to 400,000 homes and businesses in the Bay Area. Within 90 days, Covad and partnering Internet service providers expect to announce the service for small businesses.

The pricing includes access rates of up to 1.1 mbps to and from the home for $195 per month; access rates of up to 384 kbps to and from the home for $125 per month; and access rates of up to 144 kbps to and from the home for $90 per month. Customers also must pay a $325 installation fee.

The DSL service is expected to compete with the Baby Bells, including Pacific Bell in the Bay Area, which are rolling out their own high-speed Net access. But they face stiff competition from cable-modem service providers as well, including @Home in the Bay Area.

"We are proving that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is working by offering corporations and Internet service providers an alternative to existing telecommunication providers and by rapidly deploying new services at affordable prices," Covad chief executive Chuck McMinn said in a statement. The act has made the launch of companies such as Covad possible.

Covad says its network connects the central office to a corporation using a private network. It is privately held and funded by E.M. Warburg Pincus, Crosspoint Ventures, and Intel.

Separately, national Internet service provider Slip.Net today announced that it is offering high-speed Net access to its Silicon Valley customers via ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line). The company is currently taking orders for Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale, with a rollout for San Francisco slated for January and the rest of the Bay Area by mid 1998. Slip.Net said it intends to offer ADSL as a value-added service. Pricing has not yet been determined.