Regardless of these shortcomings, the DSL landscape is changing, and that will mean faster access for you, sooner. There are four reasons why DSL is the "Rocky Balboa" of the fast-access future:
If the Internet has taught us anything, it's that a little open standard goes a long way. And broadband is no exception. Though stalled initially by a lack of standards, the DSL industry has rallied. The International Telecommunications Union already standardised three forms of DSL: G.lite, ADSL and HDSL. The G.lite standard is targeted toward the consumer and reduces the need for the phone company to install it in your home.
Independent providers such as NorthPoint, Covad and Rhythms NetConnections are making an end-run around the large telcos by offering DSL service and expanding their geographic service areas. And DSL provider Telocity just announced a deal with BellSouth to roll-out service in the U.S. Southeast. Services such as www.bandwidth.com give you a one-stop shopping place online to find availability and competitive bids for DSL in your area.
Large Telco Support.
While bureaucratic telcos are typically slow to respond to change, they've stepped up their broadband efforts with a vengeance. AT&T created its Broadband Business Services brand and will expand its DSL service from the current 17 U.S. markets to 100 by the end of next year. GTE is believed to be in talks to form a relationship with Covad Communications. Companies such as AT&T and BellSouth are getting into the game. AOL and Ameritech are joining forces to offer high-speed service to AOL users in the Midwest.
PC Manufacturer Influence.
Pre-installing DSL modems with PCs is becoming common. Both Dell and IBM offer machines with DSL modems already built-in.
I believe DSL now has the inside edge to emerge victorious for the reasons listed above, but we're only in round two. The cable modem industry doesn't have a glass jaw. It has its own major backers including AT&T (which owns TCI), AOL (which just made a $10 billion investment in cable as well as rumoured to be eyeing the @Home network), and Dell (which announced a cable access deal with @Home as part of its broadband strategy).
AND THE WINNER IS...
You. The Internet cannot evolve to its next stage without fast-access. The competition will be fierce, and the fight will get ugly. But that will translate into lower costs and greater access for the consumer. Whether you choose DSL or cable modems, your life online will be greatly enhanced in the broadband future.
Take me to the ADSL Special