The present invention is a method and apparatus for estimating the bulk delay and span associated with an echo signal on a telephone line carrying a proximal signal and an echo signal. A baseline solution is to use the echo canceller itself to estimate the bulk-delay. After achieving a reasonable level of echo cancellation, the bulk-delay and the echo-span are estimated from the adaptive coefficients, followed by an enhanced mode of operation using the estimated parameters. Alternatively, for longer, unknown bulk delays, a subband adaptive system is used to estimate the bulk-delay and echo-span. The subband adaptive echo canceller outputs the set of subband adaptive coefficients to a full-band echo canceller after achieving a reasonable level of convergence.