A group of 33 companies have demonstrated interoperability between their respective asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) equipment for the first time since the G.Lite ADSL specifications were agreed last October.
At the Supercomm telecommunications tradeshow in Atlanta this week the vendors, which included 3Com, Alcatel, Ascend, Compaq and Lucent, showed their products working together, something that analysts believe will help increase the take up of ASDL in the consumer and business markets.
ADSL enables telcos to use their existing copper network to allow consumers to surf the Internet with high bandwidth and use their telephones at the same time.
G.Lite ADSL is easier and cheaper to install than full rate DSL. It will enable DSL services to be delivered to the home without requiring separate boxes to be installed alongside the telephone socket - although compliant modems would be required. In current DSL trials, telcos are required to send engineers to install separate boxes to ensure DSL modems work.
The International Telecommunications Union is expected to ratify the specifications this month, which means services from telecoms providers could be available as soon as early 2000.
ADSL has been slow to arrive in the market, mainly because of political wrangles by telcos. Carriers have been unwilling to open up the part of the network that reaches subscribers' homes to independent ADSL service providers. They were also afraid the technology would cannibalise their revenue from T1-based services - which could also be delivered using ADSL - said one participant of the demonstration.
However, recent moves in the cable arena, such as AT&T's mega mergers with operators TCI and Media One, will increase the demand for cable modems - the chief rival of ADSL modems - and spur on some telcos to offer ADSL as an alternative.
John Cahill, co-chairman of the Universal ADSL Working Group, which organised the demo, was bullish that the ability of different vendors' products to work together will make ADSL more attractive.
He said: "At the beginning of 1999 thousands of ADSL lines were installed and by the end of the year thousands of lines will be installed per day. By the end of 2000, tens of thousands will be deployed each day worldwide."
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