BT is to introduce consumer-orientated high-speed connectivity trials in the Midlands early next year. The system uses existing phone lines to carry data at significantly faster speeds and the trial will involve 300 households.
BT Home Highway uses technology supplied by GPT and Ericsson and will offer users a choice of two digital data channels, one analogue voice channel and one digital data channel or just one analogue voice channel. BT expects the service to be used for interactive shopping applications and game playing. The company believes that consumers will be attracted by the fact that they don't have to dedicate their sole phone connection to Net use.
BT will trial the service until spring 1998, when countrywide availability is planned. Installation costs are expected to be around the £100 mark and a quarterly subscription fee is also expected. BT claims the Home Highway service is designed for easy installation and will come with a new socket with two digital ports and two analogue ports.