BellSouth Pushes Broadband Upgrades

In hopes of persuading customers to boost their broadband connections, BellSouth has arranged for discounted rates on TiVo subscriptions to DSL consumers who switch to a higher-speed service.

The deal, which rolled out this week, is available to BellSouth's customers who currently connect via one of the company's lower-speed DSL options. A BellSouth spokesperson said that most of the company's 3.3 million DSL subscribers currently connect at one of the company's slower rates.

Subscribers who upgrade will receive a digital video recorder and three months of free service, including TiVo's new TiVoCast, which enables consumers to view some Web video on TV screens. For now, the service includes clips from the National Basketball Association, The New York Times, Heavy.com, and iVillage, among other sites.

BellSouth, which serves the southeastern United States, currently offers residential customers four DSL speeds: 256 Kbps downstream for $24.95 a month, 1.5 Mpbs downstream for $32.95 a month, 3 Mpbs downstream for $39.95 a month, and 6 Mpbs downstream for $46.95 a month.

While this rollout is aimed only at existing broadband users, BellSouth and TiVo are expected to unveil an initiative later this year aimed at consumers who don't yet have broadband lines. As of March, an estimated 84 million Americans used broadband connections at home, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.