01.26.1998Corporate

PC, Telecom and Networking Industry Leaders Unite to Deliver Ultra-Fast Internet Access to the Home

Compaq, Intel and Microsoft Join with Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, GTE, SBC Communications, Sprint and U S WEST with current support from 3Com Corporation, Alcatel, Analog Devices, Ariel Corporation, Aware, Bell Canada, Cirrus Logic,Cisco Systems, Copper Mountain Networks, Covad Communications, DSC Communications, Ericsson Telecom AB, Globespan Semiconductor, Lucent Technologies, MCI, Netspeed, Inc., Nortel (Northern Telecom), Orckit Communications, PairGain Technologies, Paradyne, Rockwell Semiconductor Systems, Siemens, Texas Instruments, Tut Systems, Inc. and Westell Technologies to Accelerate Mass Deployment of 'Universal' ADSL Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The leading companies in the personal computer, telecommunications, and networking industries today announced the "Universal" Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) Working Group aimed at accelerating the adoption and availability of high-speed digital Internet access for the mass market. The goal of the Universal ADSL Working Group is to propose a simplified version of ADSL which will deliver to consumers high-speed modem communications over existing phone lines based on an open, interoperable International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard.

By reducing the complexity of the on-site installation and eliminating the need for new wiring at the user's home, Universal ADSL will make it possible to more cost-effectively increase bandwidth for the consumer up to 25 times the speed of the current highest-speed analog modem technology. With the ability to deliver "always-on" Internet access at higher speeds, ADSL dramatically improves consumers' Internet experience, allowing content developers to enhance their web sites with more natural media-rich technologies such as CD-quality audio and high-quality video. Universal ADSL will also be compatible with and complementary to current higher speed (full-rate ADSL) deployments by telecommunications companies.

The Universal ADSL Working Group (UAWG) is led by PC industry leaders Compaq, Intel and Microsoft, and telecommunications leaders Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, GTE, SBC Communications, Sprint and U S WEST, and supported to date by 3Com Corporation, Alcatel, Analog Devices, Ariel Corporation, Aware, Bell Canada, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, Copper Mountain Networks, Covad Communications, DSC Communications, Ericsson Telecom AB, Globespan Semiconductor, Lucent Technologies, MCI, Netspeed, Nortel (Northern Telecom), Orckit Communications, PairGain Technologies, Paradyne, Rockwell Semiconductor Systems, Siemens, Texas Instruments, Tut Systems, Inc. and Westell Technologies. Other participants are encouraged to support the working group. The UAWG will work to deliver an open, interoperable specification for consideration by the ITU in 1998 for worldwide deployment. Full-rate ADSL rollouts are already underway by several service providers, with the expectation that the Universal version will enable wider expansion within the consumer market.

"With PC, networking, and telecommunications industry leaders joining together, we have a powerful alliance to propose to the ITU a broad-based specification for high-speed network access," said John Cahill, Executive Director at BellSouth and Co-Chair of the UAWG. "This represents a major evolution of the Internet to become an essential source of consumer information, entertainment and commerce."

"Universal ADSL's interoperability will help service providers in addressing consumer data services markets," said Beth Gage, senior broadband consultant at TeleChoice. "We expect PC companies to begin packaging these new modems in consumer and small business PCs over the next two years."

About Universal ADSL

The goal of the Universal ADSL specification work is to contribute an interoperable extension of the ANSI standard T1.413 ADSL, which will be proposed through the ITU standardization process to gain global acceptance and leverage current deployment of T1.413-based equipment by telecommunications carriers around the world. The UAWG will work to drive the interoperability of devices by sharing the working group's contributions widely and act as a forum for resolving intellectual property issues. There are several advantages to Universal ADSL, including:

Universal, Single Standard: If adopted by the ITU, this common specification supported by the personal computer, networking, and telecommunications industries will enable more rapid nationwide and global deployment of high-speed Internet access. In addition, the integration of the technology to cost-effective silicon devices is expected, thereby reducing costs of Universal ADSL equipment. Once approved, the rapid deployment of a single standard will increase the installed base of consumers accessing this service, thereby lowering costs of high-speed Internet products.

Simple Plug and Play: Universal ADSL will significantly reduce additional device requirements to be installed outside the home and helps to eliminate the need for special installation services or for additional wiring inside the home. This effort will enable PC vendors to integrate this technology in the future. In addition, simplified software setup of Universal ADSL communications will be included in future versions of Microsoft Windows. This results in ensuring simple plug and play access for consumers to high-speed communication services.

Performance: Universal ADSL technology delivers high-speed PC-based communications over standard telephone lines at speeds up to 25 times faster than today's fastest analog modems.

"Always On": A significant benefit of ADSL is that it is "always on," allowing continuous usage. Consumers can now avoid time-consuming connection procedures and busy signals and benefit from new services available from an "always on" connection. With "always on" connectivity the Internet can become an integral part of a consumer's daily life and facilitate an enriched Web lifestyle.

About the Universal ADSL Working Group

The Universal ADSL Working Group (UAWG), composed of leading PC industry, networking, and telecommunications companies, will develop a set of contributions building on the present T1.413 standard intended to create quick deployment and adoption of Universal ADSL. With the goal of providing consumers with assurance that products and services will work together, the UAWG's work will complement currently planned equipment deployment for full-rate ADSL and help to provide a seamless migration path from today's modems. In addition the group aims to maximize the economy, speed, and efficiency of both full-rate and Universal ADSL deployments. The group will deliver a series of contributions to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) G.Lite subcommittee in early 1998, and it will issue a developer's guide that will set a clear design target for technology vendors. The group foresees Universal ADSL modems being a preferred PC modem technology by the year 2000.

More information on the Universal ADSL Working Group is available on the group's Web site at www.uawg.org.