Verizon to the Rescue

Although bankrupt NorthPoint Communications Inc. is in the process of pulling
the plug on about 100,000 digital-subscriber-line subscribers due to a lack of
funds, Verizon Communications is doing its best to keep those lines

Verizon vice president of competitive-local-exchange-carrier operations Tom
Maguire said in a prepared statement that the company will leave all NorthPoint
DSL-customer connections in service at no charge while those subscribers try to
obtain new providers.

NorthPoint has blamed the majority of its problems on a scrapped merger with
Verizon, and it has a case pending against the company.

Late last Friday, meanwhile, the California Public Utilities Commission
commanded NorthPoint not to pull the plug yet, claiming that the
Internet-service provider, under current public-utility laws, must give its
customers 30 days' notice before doing so.

In response, the DSL reseller reportedly said it would be impossible for the
company to restore and maintain its service network.

Last month, AT&T Corp. said it would put up $135 million to purchase most
of NorthPoint's assets. Those assets do not include NorthPoint's subscriber
contracts, nor any results from its pending suit against Verizon.

While the situation remains gloomy at NorthPoint, it isn't much brighter at
Rhythms NetConnections Inc., a struggling DSL reseller that has a relationship
with cable-modem ISP Excite@Home Corp.

Rhythms said Monday that it has hired investment banker Lazard Frères &
Co. LLC to assist in a number of 'options' that could include an outright sale
of the company. Rhythms added that it currently has enough cash to get it into
January 2002.