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CenturyTel acquires equity in DishnetDSL
CenturyTel Inc. has acquired an equity position in DishnetDSL
Limited, of Madras, India. CenturyTel has made a $22.9 million equity
investment to acquire 6.67 percent ownership of the venture and will have
one representative on the company's board of directors.
DishnetDSL, launched in March 1998, has provided Internet service
in India under the brand name ETH. The company provides Internet
services through dial-up, integrated services digital network (ISDN), and
digital subscriber line (DSL) technologies. DishnetDSL is contracting with
commercial building owners, hotels, condo and apartment buildings for
long-term usage of internal copper wiring for DSL access.
The company was licensed as an all-India Internet Service
Provider (ISP) in December 1998. It provides Internet services in larger
cities throughout the country, and was serving 18,000 subscribers in 16 cities
at year-end 1999. It plans to expand those services to more than 44
cities throughout India by the end of the first quarter, 2000. The company
intends to extend its offering of DSL-based broadband access throughout
the country later this year.
DSL is a modem-based, high-speed data delivery technology
that should ultimately provide cost-effective networking capabilities to
residential areas and business users, both large and small, with speeds up to ten
times that of conventional dial-up Internet connections. This is particularly
important in India due to the limited availability of dial-up Internet
CenturyTel Inc. provides integrated communications services
including local exchange, wireless, long distance, Internet access and
security monitoring services to more than two million customers in 20 states.
The company, headquartered in Monroe, La., is publicly traded on the New
York Stock Exchange under the symbol CTL. CentruyTel is the seventh
largest local exchange telephone company, based on access lines, and
the ninth largest cellular company, based on population equivalents owned,
in the United States.