Bell Atlantic To Offer ADSL-Based Service Starting in Mid-1998
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ARLINGTON, VA — Bell Atlantic Network Services, Inc., today announced that it has chosen DSC Communications to supply equipment and software for the company's 1998 launch of a high-speed data communications service for consumers using a technology called Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL).
Bell Atlantic has already deployed DSC's Litespan*-2000 digital loop carrier system in its network. Now, DSC will integrate ADSL technology with this system to deliver more advanced services to Bell Atlantic customers.
"Today's Internet applications are becoming rich in multimedia content such as video and audio," said Fred D'Alessio, president-Bell Atlantic Consumer Services. "Consumers are hungry for faster and faster speeds to take advantage of this content and for telecommuting or remote access to corporate computer networks. ADSL puts consumers in the seat of a Ferrari, roaring past analog modem users still in the bicycle lane.
"Our agreement with DSC furthers Bell Atlantic's commitment to serve the needs of consumers for connectivity with a full palette of high-speed consumer data services, including our popular and universally available ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) service. With the deployment of advanced technology platforms such as ADSL, we'll be offering an increasing array of high-bandwidth services," he said.
Under a four-year contract with Bell Atlantic, DSC is working with Westell Technologies to make the Litespan 2000 ADSL-capable. In addition, DSC will provide Bell Atlantic with Westell's ADSL modems that will connect with customers' computers in offices and homes. DSC also will provide additional ADSL software and equipment.
The agreement calls for DSC to provide Bell Atlantic with the technology to overcome existing distance limitations of ADSL technology. Today, most loops longer than about three miles are served via digital loop carrier systems, and until now, ADSL could not work directly over these systems. DSC's system integrates ADSL into its Litespan Digital Loop Carrier system, eliminating the distance limitation.
"ADSL technology will be instrumental in providing more customers with advanced data services," said Mike Pisterzi, vice president, DSC's North American telco sales. "We are pleased that Bell Atlantic has chosen to upgrade our flexible Litespan systems to support ATM-based ADSL. Litespan is a highly reliable, affordable and efficient access platform that allows a smooth evolution from narrowband to broadband applications, including ADSL."
Bell Atlantic plans to begin offering an ADSL-based data service for consumers in mid-1998, followed shortly thereafter by a business offering. The company is evaluating pricing and deployment locations. By the end of the decade, Bell Atlantic expects ADSL service to be the leading high-speed, network access service in the consumer market.
With ADSL, consumers have high-speed data communications capability over regular telephone lines. And, unlike cable modems, ADSL provides dedicated bandwidth and secure communications.
The service will allow users to receive data from the Internet, or to connect to their office's local area network, at speeds up to 6 megabits per second (Mbps). That's 100 times faster than today's fastest analog telephone modem, which receives data at a rate of 56 kilobits per second (Kbps).
Bell Atlantic currently is conducting a market trial of ADSL-based Internet access in northern Virginia with about 250 consumers to test their use of and reaction to ADSL technology. The trial, which began last September, is expected to continue through June.
"Participants in the trial are thrilled with the speed and value this service adds to their online experience as well as the quality of Bell Atlantic's ADSL data service," said D'Alessio. "The market trial is giving us a lot of very useful information that's helping us formulate our rollout strategy."
Deployment of ADSL technology by Bell Atlantic and other local exchange companies has the potential to alleviate some of the pressure that the tremendous increase in Internet usage is placing on the public switched telephone network. ADSL technology allows the data traffic that flows to and from a user's PC to be connected directly to a packet switch or router, and sent over an efficient high-speed packet data network, thus keeping such traffic from congesting the public switched network, which is engineered for voice telephone calls.
Industry analysts predict that 20 percent of consumers will have high-speed data connections within the next five years. With 11.5 million households in its mid-Atlantic service area, Bell Atlantic believes ADSL-based data service will play a significant role with that fast-growing market.
"Our ISDN customers will find it easy and affordable to upgrade to ADSL," said D'Alessio. "And our customers who use analog modems today for Internet access and connectivity also will find it easy to upgrade to higher bandwidth services. It's a tremendous market opportunity and we expect to be the market leader with a number of high-speed digital solutions."
Bell Atlantic is the country's premier provider of ISDN technology, serving 206,000 customers at business and home. ISDN, which is available throughout Bell Atlantic's mid-Atlantic service area, allows users to transmit and receive data at speeds up to 128 Kbps over existing phone lines. Currently, consumers are signing up for Bell Atlantic's ISDN service at a record pace.
"ADSL will complement our ISDN offering," said D'Alessio. "With the wide availability of ISDN, and the promise of ADSL's blazing speed, consumers will be able to burn up the information superhighway."
DSC Communications Corp. is a global provider of advanced telecommunications products, including digital switching, transmission, access and network management systems. DSC's integrated network solutions support voice, data and video services, such as intelligent networking, wireless, Internet and switched digital video applications. DSC has annual revenues of approximately $1.4 billion and is active in more than 60 countries worldwide.
Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new communications, entertainment and information industry. In the mid-Atlantic region, Bell Atlantic's telephone company subsidiaries are the premier providers of local telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing high-growth national and international business opportunities in all phases of the industry.
* Litespan is a registered trademark of DSC Communications Corp.