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BellSouth

(BLS)

and DirecTV reached an agreement to bundle some of their services beginning in early 2004, in a deal that marks the latest venture between a local phone company and a satellite television provider.

Starting early next year, BellSouth residential customers in nine states will be able to get DirecTV with their other services.

The companies also said they plan to begin exploring the integration of digital satellite and DSL technology, including options for enhanced networking over the BellSouth fiber network.

BellSouth and DirecTV, a unit of

Hughes Electronics

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will discount their services, if they're sold in the BellSouth Answers bundle.

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Recently, DirecTV and

Qwest

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agreed to test-market bundled services in certain areas. Also recently,

SBC Communications

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and

EchoStar

(DISH)

signed a deal to offer customers phone, satellite and other services.