Sprint has purchased network equipment from Lucent Technologies, Sprint spokeswoman Alice O'Brien said Monday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Lucent equipment, called Stinger, is a small-scale version of DSL (digital subscriber line) network equipment that specializes in serving remote areas. Sprint plans to add the gear throughout its 18-state network, O'Brien said.
EarthLink, a DSL provider that does not own or build its own network, said it will lease more of BellSouth's existing broadband network. EarthLink said the expansion will enable it to offer service to 4.5 million homes sometime next year. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
EarthLink also relies on the high-speed networks of SBC Communications, Comcast and AOL Time Warner.
DSL is one of two ways U.S. households and businesses get high-speed Web access. The most popular method is through a cable modem, which in general costs about $10 less per month in the United States than DSL service.
By most, the United States has 15 million cable modems in use, double the number of DSL connections. By comparison, there are 5 million cable modem connections in use in the rest of the world.