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NYT on new DSL modems from AT&T

  What's the story on this? jamie
            June 4, 1996                                    [Image]
            AT&T Paradyne Announces
            High-Speed Modem Technology
            By LAURIE J. FLYNN
            [I] n an all-out effort to protect the telephone
                franchise from the threats of cable television,
            satellite and other emerging technologies for accessing
            the Internet, AT&T Paradyne announced on Monday a new
            technology that will give both home and business
            customers much faster Internet access than is possible
            today over standard phone lines.
             [Image] The technology, called GlobeSpan Rate Adaptive
                     Digital Subscriber Line, or Radsl, is capable
            of transmitting data at a top speed of 7 megabits per
            second, fully 400 times the speed of 14.4
            kilobits-per-second modems, currently the most commonly
            used modem.
            Unlike other Internet access technologies, Radsl also
            permits voice and data calls simultaneously over a
            single line.
            The company, based in Largo, Fla., said that it expects
            telecommunications equipment makers and Regional Bell
            companies to start offering products and services based
            on Globespan Radsl early next year.
            "We believe this is the breakthrough that will change
            the whole structure of Internet access," said Clete
            Gardenhour, director of business development for AT&T
            Paradyne. "It's going to take the Internet from being a
            hobby to something very useful."
            Gardenhour said that the GlobeSpan technology would help
            phone companies deal with congestion caused by consumers
            using the phone network for lengthy data calls,
            particularly when accessing graphics on the World Wide
            Web. Displaying a graphic that now takes six minutes to
            download could appear in less than a second using
            Globespan Radsl.
            The technology will also make it possible to efficiently
            transmit full-motion video over the Internet using
            standard phone lines, Gardenhour said.
            AT&T Paradyne is working with the regional phone
            companies, including Bell Atlantic and Bell South, to
            test the GlobeSpan Radsl technology just as the cable TV
            industry is readying services for accessing the Internet
            at speeds 300 times those typically available though the
            phone network today.
            But Kieran Taylor, a broadband consultant for TeleChoice
            Inc., a telecommunications consulting firm in Verona,
            N.J., predicted that the cable TV industry, while able
            to provide relatively inexpensive high-speed Internet
            access, will not have the geographic reach of the phone
            network for many years.
             [Image] "There are 600 million phone lines worldwide,
                     and Radsl is really the technology that's going
            to eliminate local bottlenecks," Taylor said.
            Peter Brackett, a research manager at Bell South in
            Atlanta, said that cable technology was capable of
            faster speeds than GlobeSpan Radsl but that the
            performance degrades as more people are added, something
            like the party lines popular during the early days of
            the phone.
            Still, Bracket said he thought that both technologies
            would have advantages for different customers. He said
            that Bell South was planning to deploy the Globespan
            technology sometime in 1997.
            The arrival of GlobeSpan Radsl is also expected to stem
            demand for ISDN, or Integrated Services Digital Network,
            the phone companies' current solution for high-speed
            Internet access for residential customers.
            ISDN, which offers only relatively slight speed
            improvement over standard phone lines, requires the
            customer install a second phone line. And because ISDN
            routes data calls through telephone switching
            mechanisms, the technology does nothing to improve the
            congestion caused by growing use of the Internet,
            Gardenhour said.
            But while GlobeSpan Radsl will probably cut into the
            demand for ISDN for Internet access, Taylor predicted
            that ISDN would continue to provide high-speed
            communications for other applications, including video
            To sign up for service based on GlobeSpan Radsl,
            customers will pay $40 to $50 a month, roughly the same
            price as ISDN today, plus a leasing fee for a modem,
            unless they decide to purchase their own.
            Taylor estimated that Radsl modems would cost about
            $1,600 initially, about double the price of a cable
            While the Digital Subscriber Line technology upon which
            GlobalSpan Radsl is based has been under development for
            some time, the GlobeSpan Radsl technology offers a
            significant improvement over other implementations
            because its transmission speed can adapt to the quality
            of the signal on the line. This feature means that all
            customers, even those based a long distance from the
            phone company's nearest equipment center, will
            experience high-quality service.
             [Image] While the technology is able to transmit data
                     at 7 megabits per second to the customer's
            computer, data the customer sends are limited in speed
            to 1 megabit per second.
            But Brackett said that even with the improvements
            promised by GlobeSpan Radsl and its competitors, it will
            still be incumbent on the Internet service providers to
            beef up the performance of their servers before the
            Internet will become more substantially more efficient.
            "It's an exciting next step," Brackett said. "But
            customers don't buy high-speed access; they buy
            For that reason, conventional modems will probably be
            the preferred method of Internet access for most people
            for the foreseeable future, as Internet service
            providers, Web site developers and access providers
            attempt to solve the performance problems that exist at
            all levels.
            Referring to the current maximum-speed modem technology
            for standard phone lines, Brackett said, "The 28.8 Kbps
            modem is going to be the center of gravity for the next
            few years."
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