GTE begins second phase of lightning-fast Internet access trial in Redmond, Wash.
Expanded Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) trial to include up to 100 area firms and 50 additional Microsoft.
IRVING, Texas -- One of the nation's most advanced high-speed Internet access and remote office connectivity trials using Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) modem technology is getting bigger, and much faster.
GTE announced today, in cooperation with Microsoft Corp., that it will expand its data ADSL trial in Redmond, Wash., by adding up to 100 Seattle-area businesses and 50 additional employees from Microsoft. The initial trial, launched in August with 20 employees from both companies, is being enhanced by the introduction of faster modems, as well as a range of new Microsoft Windows NT services for business and residential users. The new trial participants will be added over the next 45 days.
"Customer feedback throughout the trial's first phase has been overwhelmingly positive," said Flynn Nogueira, manager of GTE's ADSL program office. Citing unprecedented interest from customers wanting to use the high-speed modems, Nogueira added, "In November, we invited businesses on the east side of Seattle to express their interest in joining the second phase, and more than 600 companies contacted us in less than 10 days."
The full range of Microsoft's commercial Internet services, networked multimedia software, and PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), is used to emphasize the business and residential services made possible by, or enhanced through, the bandwidth that ADSL offers. Compaq computers are used to run these services at the GTE central office.
During phase two, some of the customers will begin using modems that transmit data "downstream" to their computers at speeds of 4 or 6 megabits per second (Mbps), and "upstream" to GTE's switching station at 384 kilobits per second (kbps).
The speedy modems offer remarkable boosts in performance. Using the 4 Mbps modems, customers could download a one-minute video clip, which is equivalent to a 10 MB file, in close to real time. In contrast, the same video clip would take 10 minutes to download using a high-speed, digital telephone line known as ISDN, and about 45 minutes using a standard 28.8 kbps modem.
ADSL Promises "Speed of Light" Service
"Increased bandwidth demand, fueled by business and media-rich applications, is driving the need for speed on the Internet. As the Internet, and business connectivity, become a more integral part of life, consumers increasingly won't tolerate waiting to download large text files, complex graphics, video clips or multi-media programs," said Nogueira. "It's disconcerting to know that you could get your hair cut, or shop for groceries in the time it takes for many larger files to download with today's standard 28.8 mbps modem.
"Speed is everything on the Internet," she added. "Our trials have successfully proven that ADSL can burst through the bandwidth bottleneck woes that plague on-line users today by helping them get information at 'the speed of light.'"
GTE launched the nation's first ADSL trial in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex last February, and 30 residential and business customers continue to test drive the service today using modems that transmit data at 1.5 Mbps "downstream" and either 64 or 160 kbps "upstream," depending on which modem they are using.
Expanded Trial To Focus On Telecommuting Solutions
Based on the success of the two current trials, plus what is learned from other trials GTE will initiate over the next few months, the company expects to begin commercially offering the warp-speed service in several of its key markets in the first half of 1997. The estimated price of service will range between $40 and $100 per month, depending on the class of service offered.
With the additional participants, the expanded Redmond trial will focus on high-speed solutions for telecommuting and connecting remote corporate offices, using Microsoft's Commercial Internet Services.
In both the Redmond and Texas trials, GTE is using the "Overture 4" (1.5 Mbps/160 kbps) provided by Amati Communications of San Jose, Calif., and the "FlexCap ADSL" modem (1.5 Mbps/64 kbps) by Westell Technologies based in Oswego, Ill.
During phase two of the Redmond trial, GTE will continue to use Westell's "FlexCap ADSL" modems and Amati's "Overture 4," plus begin using Amati's "Overture 8" modem (4 and 6 Mbps/384 kbps), the fastest ADSL modem commercially available.
ADSL service works by connecting a pair of modems to each end of a telephone line, with one modem being located in the telephone company's central office and the other at the home or office of the user. ADSL also maximizes the use of existing technology because it operates over twisted-pair copper telephone lines, streamlining installation and controlling expenses. ADSL service is also significant in that it provides continuous Internet access unlike traditional dial-up modem connections.
With revenues of $20 billion in 1995, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. GTE is also the largest U.S.- based local telephone company and a leading cellular-service provider -- with wireline and wireless operations that form a market area covering about one-third of the country's population.
Editor's Note: GTE will be showcasing its Internet services at the Internet World Fall '96 show Dec. 11-13 in New York City, booth #1529. Reporters who wish to schedule an interview during the show should contact GTE at 972-718-6924.