Microsoft, Qwest unveil Internet alliance

Thursday, April 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) _ Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Internet service division and telecommunications provider Qwest Communications Inc. unveiled a new partnership Thursday that will allow MSN to once again offer high-speed, or broadband, Internet access to its clients.

In a statement Thursday, the companies said Qwest will market MSN services to new and existing customers; Qwest currently serves more than 12 million homes in its 14-state area. In return, MSN will purchase from Qwest broadband capacity and other services and equipment.

Qwest said its existing 500,000 customers will receive MSN content beginning this summer.

Financial terms of the wide-ranging, five-year alliance were not disclosed.

Microsoft's previous provider of DSL high-speed Internet access, NorthPoint Communications, shut down its high-speed service earlier this year after the bankrupt company was unable to obtain additional funding. At this point, MSN customers can only currently get high-speed access via a costly satellite connection service.

Microsoft's MSN service recently edged up to 5 million subscribers, narrowly surpassing EarthLink's 4.7 million subscribers. America Online still dominates the Internet service field with more than 29 million subscribers.