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Dell puts DSL in PC packages

The PC company starts selling DSL services from the top two U.S. providers--SBC and Verizon--to customers, hoping to piggyback on a broadband boom.

Dell Computer has begun selling broadband services from the top two U.S. providers of DSL (digital subscriber line) Internet access, the company will announce on Tuesday.

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In addition, the PC company is reselling Web subscriptions offered by BellSouth, the third-biggest U.S. DSL provider.

Dell will join computer makers Gateway and Compaq in reselling high-speed Web services directly to customers.

"More and more computer buyers see DSL as a necessary service," said Verizon spokeswoman Briana Gowing.

Dell is the first PC company to resell DSL service from the top two U.S. providers simultaneously, she added.

PC companies such as Dell are trying to latch onto a growth in broadband subscriptions to boost sales of personal computers. The PC market has been hit by a slumping economy that has forced corporations--among the biggest computer buyers--to limit their information technology spending. In addition, consumers have opted to buy other kinds of electronics devices instead of replacing their PCs.

Broadband services could provide a lifeline to PC companies. The number of DSL customers worldwide grew at an unprecedented rate from July through September 2002, according to a recent survey from the DSL Forum. More than 5 million people worldwide signed up for DSL service between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2002, an increase of nearly 20 percent over the previous three-month period, according to the survey, which was released last month.

SBC, Verizon and BellSouth are expected to introduce rebates or discounts on subscriptions that are meant just for Dell customers. However, details of program pricing were not available Monday.