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RealTime IT News

Commercial VoDSL Near Reality

Verizon Communications intends to become one of the first local phone companies to provide voice over digital subscriber line services.

In a race to the digital finish line, Verizon commenced conducting a technical trial of its VoDSL technology Tuesday.

VoDSL is a technology that provides high-speed Internet access and up to 16 separate telephone lines over a single copper wire into a home or business.

The national telecom firm borne from the merger of GTE Inc. and Bell Atlantic Corp. is experimenting with innovative communications service delivery with Verizon employees in the metro Dallas area.

Pending the success of this trial, Verizon expects to begin a market trial with selected small businesses in Texas later this summer.

Lee Wright, Verizon marketing director, said VoDSL deployment is key to its advanced technology business strategy.

"By integrating voice and data services over one copper line, we will be able to provide small businesses with the telecommunications solutions they want," Wright said. "VoDSL positions Verizon to compete effectively in the small business market place by leveraging our investment in our advanced network."

Lucent Technologies Inc. and CopperCom are providing the infrastructure for the current trial. Lucent is providing its voice and data capable digital subscriber line access multiplexers and systems integration for the project.

Stephen Marino, Lucent sales director, said the group is excited at the opportunity to work with Verizon on the strategically important project.

"By utilizing the Lucent Stinger for its voice and data capabilities, Verizon will strengthen its position as a market leader in Voice over DSL packet services," Marino said.

CopperCom is providing the integrated access devices, which combine voice and data traffic into packets onto a single DSL line and is equipping central offices with gateways. Cynthia Ringo, CopperCom chief executive officer, said Verizon would be the first local exchange carrier to provide a compelling platform for DSL voice services.

"Verizon has an aggressive model for delivering robust voice services to small businesses and residences," Ringo said. "It complements CopperCom's charter to improve broadband access and offer a new way for service providers to move beyond standardized calling features."

Verizon plans to offer its VoDSL services commercially later this year. Pricing for the integrated broadband service has not been established.

IDC telecom analysts predict big things for Verizon, which has operations in more than 30 states and controls more than 63 million access lines, making it the largest local phone company in the U.S.

IDC believes the merged company also brings considerable weight to the wireless market, serving more than 25 million wireless customers nationwide. Although the merger forced Bell Atlantic to shed GTE's backbone services to gain regulatory approval, Amy Harris, IDC senior broadband analyst, said Verizon is capable of offering a new scale and scope of broadband services.

"As a result of the merger, the re-branded company is now well positioned to become a formidable contender in the Internet and high-speed data, long distance, and international communications markets," Harris said.

Verizon's VoDSL experiment may be one of the company's first major initiatives that embody analyst's rosy outlook on the future of the merged and converged firm.