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said Wednesday they will jointly provide Internet access through their high-speed networks.

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AT&T, the nation's largest phone and cable television company, said both companies would jointly market and maintain access services through their networks. AT&T, which holds a 38% stake in the Redwood City, Calif.-based Excite, also said the alliance will speed up the delivery of Internet content to nearly 3 million of Excite's broadband subscribers. AT&T expects services from the joint initiative to be available within the second quarter of 2001.

"With the ability to simultaneously connect to both the AT&T and Excite@Home backbones, customers now have the added confidence that their online events will run without a hitch,'' AT&T said.

Shares of AT&T recently dipped 88 cents, or 3.91%, to $21.60 on the

New York Stock Exchange

while Excite stocks rose 59 cents, or 11.31%, to $5.90 in