RealTime IT News

Standards Group Gives DSL Boost

Telephone companies will be looking to turn up the heat on cable providers in the race to offer high-speed Internet access now that a new standard for Digital Subscriber Line service has cleared an important hurdle.

The International Telecommunication Union on Thursday approved technical specifications for "DSL lite," a variation of the high-speed technology that supports Internet access at speeds of up to 1.5 megabits per second.

That's good news to regional telephone companies across the country since many are either currently rolling out the service or plan to do so in 1999.

The standard will speed deployments of the service since it allows equipment vendors to design products that work with a customer's setup, regardless of the telephone company they use. The standard will also mean DSL devices should start showing up in stores by the middle of next year. While the pricing for the devices haven't been finalized, they are expected to be in line with conventional modems.

Analysts say that although the standard does help DSL in its deployment battle with cable, telephone companies still face an uphill battle since the service is more complicated to install and in many cases, more costly.