Global DSL standard heralds UK datacomms revolution

British Telecom has joined the Universal ADSL Working Group (UAWG) and revealed its plans for domestic and corporate data communications for the next two years.

As a result of recent OFTEL changes to its licence, BT Networks - the part of BT that handles voce communications - can now provide an ‘IP Dialtone' service (a permanent high speed connection to the Internet). At the same time it is testing DSL technology that can provide Internet access for domestic customers at up to 6Mbit/sec.

Delivery of services will be revolutionised by the UAWG, said David Smith, General Manager of Broadband and Data Networks at BT. Together with telcos from France, Germany, the US, Japan and Singapore, BT's involvement means that over a third of telephone lines worldwide are now controlled by UAWG members, vastly increasing the probability that ADSL standards proposed by the group will be ratified and adopted.

The major standard evolved by the UAWG - DSL Lite - will provide up to 1Mbit/s over ordinary telephone lines. BT said this will allow domestic customers to access to its new multi-service broadband network which is capable of delivering services such as data, voice, video-on-demand etc. - a development that should be complete within eighteen months.

In related US developments, both Dell and Compaq have announced they will be shipping machines with pre-installed ADSL modems. Compaq indicated that it will have combined ADSL/56k modems in the majority of its Presario range by the end of the year at no extra cost. Dell will include Cisco's ADSL modems in its Dimension XPS desktops for an additional $250 (£153) or so. Both Compaq and Cisco are members of the UAWG.

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