AOL eyes high-speed transmission

America Online will begin nationwide trials in the US of Digital Subscriber Line (xDSL) technology, a service that allows high-speed transmission of data over standard copper phone lines, the company announced today.

AOL will work with GTE Internetworking to set up the xDSL trials, according to AOL spokeswoman Wendy Goldberg. GTE Internetworking will be responsible for setting up the service with local telephone companies in the regions where the service is being tested.

"Telcos tend to use different xDSL standards and equipment. GTE Internetworking is going to co-ordinate with the phone companies to install different equipment if it's needed," Goldberg said. The tests will be conducted over the portion of AOLnet that is already operated by GTE Internetworking under an existing contract.

The initial trials will take place in Redmond, Washington, Phoenix, San Francisco and the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Virginia. The service will cost $49.95 (£28) per month, which includes the AOL subscriber fee.

Goldberg said AOL did not have definite plans regarding the future of the service, and stressed that AOL is examining several options regarding broadband service. "We've said we're going to look into a variety of technology. We've been in cable trials for some time, and we're looking at wireless," she said.