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COMPUTING

From...
PC World

Bring DSL home in a box

by Marc Ferranti broadband

NEW YORK (IDG) -- Bell Atlantic and 3Com are encouraging consumers to think inside the box when it comes to Internet access. The companies are pushing high-speed Digital Subscriber Line technology out to a mass market, with an idea they're informally calling "DSL in a box."

The pair will sell through retailers a low-cost kit designed to give consumers everything they need to get hooked up to the Internet through DSL, they announced at the Internet World conference here Wednesday. The ASDL Home Connection Kit will be available in CompUSA and Staples retail outlets throughout the Bell Atlantic region -- which includes much of the Eastern U.S. -- by the end of October, priced at $229.
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Until January 31, 2000, buyers can send in a coupon and get a $130 rebate, bringing the price down to $99. In addition, Bell Atlantic is waiving the typical one-time connection fees during the period.

The kit consists of a 3Com HomeConnect asymmetric digital subscriber line modem, software to use the Bell Atlantic.net Internet access service, instructions for setting up the modem and software, and various adapters that let you talk on the phone and surf the Internet simultaneously over a single phone line.

Once you install the kit, you get a choice of several levels of DSL and Internet service, starting at $49 per month.

Sowing DSL amid cable

"The concept of DSL-ready DSL-in-a-box is really about to happen," says Fred D'Alessio, president of Bell Atlantic's Consumer Services group. The new kit will have "everything consumers need to get DSL at home," he says.

The companies are keeping the initial price of the kit low in order to fuel mass market use of DSL technology, according to Jerry Devlin, vice president and general manager for 3Com's Personal Connectivity Division.
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"No one's going to get rich selling modems at that price," Devlin says of the kit. "But deploying DSL technology as quickly as possible has great benefits for us ... among other things, the more people use these modems, the more the cost goes down for us."

Over the next few months, Bell Atlantic and 3Com will roll out the kits to about 60 retail outlets throughout the Bell Atlantic coverage area. The phone company is in a race to offer high-speed Net access, battling it out against the cable companies, including AT&T.

Pricing for the ADSL kits, including Bell Atlantic.net access services, is $49 monthly for Personal Infospeed service with 640 kilobits-per-second downstream and 90-kbps upstream speeds; $99 monthly for Professional Infospeed with 1.6 megabits per second downstream and 90 kbps upstream speeds; and $189 for Power Infospeed, with 7.1 mbps downstream and 680 kbps upstream speed.

A DSL-equipped line and bandwidth alone (without the Bell Atlantic Internet access service) starts at $39 monthly for the Personal InfoSpeed, $59 for Professional InfoSpeed, and $109 for Power Infospeed.

The 3Com modems in the initial version of the kits do not work with Macintosh computers or with notebook PCs.



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