High speed data transmission over standard telephone lines using Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology is failing to appeal to end users or telecomms suppliers.
A new report from analysts Forrester Research claims that, despite the increasing maturity of DSL and the large number of related products hitting the market, lack of demand from users will mean fewer than 250,000 lines will use Asymmetrical DSL (ADSL) by 2001. ADSL, the best known flavour of DSL, enables high speed network access over copper telephone wire.
Forrester?s report, 'DSL Field of Dreams', was based on interviews with 51 Fortune 1,000 companies and major hardware manufacturers. It concluded that rapid growth in connections to the Internet and branch office links to the core network would not give a major boost to ADSL use.
Nearly three-quarters of companies questioned by Forrester said any expansion in connections to the Internet would be done via the corporate wide area network, leaving DSL in the cold.
But William Rodey, vice president of the ADSL Forum, said 260 communications and hardware vendors were backing the technology as a viable option for high speed services in the local loop.
?For the business community, high speed access to mission critical information for knowledge workers, wherever they are located, will soon become a corporate imperative. ADSL will enable large companies to extend their corporate networks, in a cost effective and secure fashion,? said Rodey.
On the bright side, many of Forresters' user respondents expressed dissatisfaction with their existing ISDN connections for home working, while small businesses showed interest in the concept of ADSL-driven high speed data transmission if it was available at the right price.
DSL has a number of different flavours, of which ADSL is the best known. This uses modems at each end of standard copper wire to transmit data downstream at speeds of up to 6Mbps, with 640Kbps upstream. This top heavy bandwidth makes the technology potentially suitable for low cost, very fast access to the Internet or interactive television.
While this requires no changes to the cable infrastructure, the telecomms supplier must use ADSL-compliant hardware and software. The ADSL Forum, the technology's standards body, claims ADSL solves bottleneck problems in accessing the Internet, particularly for telecomms suppliers with their local loops swamped by Internet and voice traffic.
British Telecom used ADSL in its interactive television trial last year. A spokesperson said the technology was still being evaluated and might be used in the future for similar services if commercially viable, but there were no plans to offer it for business use.
* 3Com said it will be shipping an ADSL, frame relay and ATM compliant card later this year for use by digital loop carriers to integrate voice and DSL traffic and enable users to receive up to 8Mbps to the home.
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