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NorthPoint Pulls DSL Plug

Claiming it couldn't muster enough cash to continue on, bankrupt digital subscriber line provider NorthPoint Communications Inc. said last Wednesday that it has been forced to halt service to about 100,000 high-speed subscribers.

The company had to shut down its DSL networks after "efforts to secure funding for continued, interim operations failed," the company said in a statement. "Absent funding, NorthPoint is taking immediate steps to take down service.

"NorthPoint advises its customers to expect network outages and termination of DSL services immediately," the company continued.

That move will affect High Speed Access Corp., which has about 300 DSL lines installed in Denver; Tampa, Fla.; Atlanta; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; and San Antonio via a previous reseller agreement with the DSL provider.

Last week, AT&T Corp. said it would buy most of NorthPoint's assets for the bargain-basement price of $135 million. Those "assets" included NorthPoint's national collocation arrangements and "certain" network equipment, systems and support software, but excluded NorthPoint's customer contracts.

At the time, NorthPoint, which has blamed its bankruptcy woes on a scrapped merger with Verizon Communications, said it had enough cash to make it through the close with AT&T.

NorthPoint's escalated decision to shut off its network has left tens of thousands of customers without service and its DSL resellers in the lurch.

HSA has already mailed letters to its NorthPoint customers, urging them to seek alternative providers such as MegaPath or Telocity Inc. An HSA spokesman acknowledged at this juncture, that the company is not in a position to provide much more help to those DSL subs.

HSA has prepared for NorthPoint's demise with plans to acquire DSL equipment in some markets on the cheap, then sell service directly to commercial customers.