Group thinks it has answer to the World Wide Wait Compaq, Microsoft, Intel, phone companies join on technology to speed Web



Three titans of the personal computer industry have joined with most of the nation's largest local telephone companies to enable consumers to receive Internet data over regular telephone lines at speeds much higher than are currently possible, according to executives involved with the alliance.

Compaq Computer Corp., Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. intend to unveil the venture next week at a communications conference in Washington, the executives said.

The formation of the new group is one of the most significant early moves in what promises to be a years-long battle between telephone companies and cable television companies for control of how consumers get high-speed access to the Internet.

The executives said the three companies, which set much of the agenda in the computer industry, have joined GTE Corp. and four of the five regional telephone companies to set technical standards for the next generation of access to cyberspace. The technology is known as digital subscriber line, or DSL.

The group wants to have modems and software based on the new standards on store shelves by Christmas, the executives said.

If the group succeeds in popularizing the technology, consumers could get data like World Wide Web pages from the Internet and other advanced services at speeds up to 30 times faster than today's fastest modems deliver. Pages that now take minutes to view would appear on a computer's screen almost instantly.

The products envisioned by the consortium would essentially be new modems that would plug into normal telephone lines but remain connected to the outside world at all times, without the need to dial an Internet service and without interfering with normal voice conversations over the same line.

"Once you get this stuff, you will sell your first-born before you go back to a normal modem," said Howard Anderson, a technology consultant in Boston.

Pub Date: 1/20/98

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