BT announces ADSL - just not yet

BT today unveiled the first details of its nationwide Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) service -- but users will have to wait for service.

This initial announcement is for a range of services from 512kbps to 2.4Mbps -- between ten and fifty times as fast as a standard modem -- at wholesale prices from £40 to £150. That's the price per connection per month BT will charge the ISPs who wish to provide the service to their customers: consumer prices will almost certainly be significantly higher.

A range of ISPs have said they will be trialling or providing ADSL, including BT's own BT Interactive, AOL and Videonet.

Four hundred telephone exchanges will be upgraded to provide the high-speed data service by March 2000 in areas including London within the M25, Cardiff, Belfast, Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. BT has said previously that it will cover up to 70% of subscribers over three years, but more details of the extended roll-out are not yet available.

An AOL spokesperson said "We'll be starting ADSL trials in October, and users will have all the normal AOL content together with exclusive broadband services." The company also said "the move will allow AOL Europe to introduce flat-rate pricing for DSL triallists and bring it a step closer to its European goal to 'stop the clock' on high local call charges for Internet access."

ADSL has been eagerly awaited as it provides a permanent, low-cost, high-speed Internet connection that isn't charged by the minute. It uses ordinary telephone lines with special equipment added at both ends to carry the data.

More news throughout the day.

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