Microsoft has forged agreements with three American telecoms companies which will allow it to offer broadband internet services to 90% of households with digital subscriber line (DSL) connections.

The software titan announced on Monday deals with Verizon, SBC Communications and BellSouth to provide its services, which cost $49.95 per month. Under the agreements, its broadband offering will initially be available to 29m homes with DSL capability, some 60% of the total, but this will rise to 45m (90%) within three months.

“This will raise the level of competition and increase the heat on [market leader] AOL Time Warner,” enthused Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer. “As customers make the switch from narrowband to broadband, they will be up for grabs.”

News source: Financial Times