Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) and the Board of County Supervisors officially announced yesterday that Santa Clara-based Covad Communications Inc. will establish its principal East Coast operations center on a 17-acre site at the Innovation@Prince William technology park.

The deal eventually will create about 1,000 jobs and could bring an investment totaling $35 million over several years, county officials said.

Covad is one of the hottest companies offering Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL), a high-speed Internet option for small- and medium-size businesses, industry analysts say. The lines can carry much more traffic than phone-modem links and cost far less than the high-speed, high-capacity T1 lines that phone companies such as Bell Atlantic Corp. offer. The company's clients include Cisco Systems Inc., Oracle Corp. and Sprint Corp.

"Covad's selection of Innovation@Prince William for its new technical center further confirms Prince William County's status as the new center of business opportunity in the metropolitan Washington area," said board Chairman Kathleen K. Seefeldt (D). "This success speeds us to out goals of attracting high-quality jobs . . . increasing capital investment . . . and creating a technology center at Innovation."

The county is considering the transfer of $300,000 from the general budget to the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority for the Covad project, in addition to $807,000 from the Governor's Opportunity Fund.

CAPTION: "This success speeds us to out goals of attracting high-quality jobs," board Chairman Kathleen K. Seefeldt (D) said.