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Heard on the Beat

Built for Speed

August 10, 1998|ELIZABETH DOUGLASS

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Covad Communications Co. today joins a growing list of companies offering faster connections to Southern California Internet users with a need for speed.

The company, which launched high-speed Internet access in the Bay Area in December, is flush with money and has embarked on an aggressive expansion into Los Angeles and other regions.

Covad's network is equipped to offer several flavors of digital subscriber line (DSL) technology, which can transmit at speeds up to 50 times faster than conventional dial-up modems and up to 10 times faster than integrated services digital network (ISDN), a slower cousin to DSL technology.

DSL works using traditional copper phone lines and provides always-on service to Internet users.

The company will sell network access to Internet service providers and businesses with a need to connect telecommuting and other far-flung employees to corporate networks.

Covad will compete with a growing number of companies selling Internet speed. In Southern California, Cox Communications and MediaOne are offering high-speed cable modems, and several companies--from Pacific Bell to San Francisco's NorthPoint Communications and many others--are offering users various forms of DSL service.

Initially, Covad's "TeleSpeed" services will be available in areas served by 12 Pacific Bell and GTE central offices--including portions of Canoga Park, Van Nuys, Burbank, Pasadena, Anaheim, Orange and parts of Los Angeles, among other areas.

In addition, the service will be offered through several Internet service providers that have partnered with Covad, including San Francisco-based Concentric Network, Epoch Internet of Irvine and Internet Express Network and Flashcom (both based in Los Angeles).

Covad's flat-rate service prices range from $90 per month for service at speeds of 144 kilobits per second up to $195 per month for download speeds of 1.1 megabits per second and 1.5 megabits per second.

One-time charges include a $325 installation fee and $399 to $550 for the necessary DSL router or bridge.

Internet service providers would probably assess a monthly fee for its services on top of the Covad prices.

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