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Verizon's New DSL: No Threat To Cable, Says Expert

Verizon Communications' impressive new 1.5 Mbps downlink/384 Kbps DSL uplink won't be enough for DSL providers to overtake cable-modem service in the broadband sweepstakes, according to one expert who surveys the overall broadband market.

"DSL will never catch up," said Bruce Leichtman in an interview. "Cable started 2003 with a 5 million [subscriber] lead and ended with a 6.5 million lead." Leichtman, who is president and principal analyst of the Leichtman Research Group, in Durham, NH, conceded that DSL offered by leading telephone companies is picking up momentum in recent months, but cable's lead is too strong for the telephone companies to hope to overhaul broadband cable.

On Tuesday, Verizon announced it will add a new high-speed 1.5Mbps/384Kbps DSL tier for consumers this quarter, to be followed by another offering of 3Mbps/768Kbps this summer. The former regional Bell operating company (RBOC) also announced it will offer VoIP service this summer. Pricing for the VoIP service and the higher speed DSL service will be released later, the company said.

In a statement, Verizon threw down the gauntlet at its cable competitors: "Our ability to offer customers a compelling array of local, long-distance, wireless, broadband and video services is unmatched by our cable competitors. Expanding our DSL service will allow us to offer even more innovative packages that include services like voice over IP."

Verizon is scheduled to deliver another weapon in the broadband wars this summer, when its BroadbandAccess high-speed wireless service will be offered on a nationally. BroadbandAccess has broadband speeds, but its $80 monthly fee will appeal more to business users than to consumers.

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