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

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.

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