Europe under pressure to adopt xDSL services

Europe under pressure to adopt xDSL services
David Manners Europe’s telecoms operators will be forced to adopt xDSL technology for the local loop connections to the home, reckons Aldo Romano, managing director of STMicroelectronics. “The pressure in this direction means it is only a matter of time. There’s no way they can resist the strength of the demand,” Romano told EW. The EU is expected to start legislative moves in the second half of this year. It will move to redefine the term ‘universal service’ which telecoms operators are obliged to provide, and could include xDSL services in the definition. If adopted, it would force telecoms operators to provide xDSL at a reasonable price. The operators already use xDSL technology to provide E1 business leased lines costing upwards of ?20,000 a year. However, chipsets costing $50 are making cheap xDSL modems available to the home, and Compaq is already bundling them with PCs. Businesses would dump leased lines if they can get xDSL services at consumer prices which makes some operators reluctant to adopt the technology. UK regulator Oftel’s paper Access to bandwidth: Bringing higher bandwidth services to the consumer concludes that xDSL is the best way of providing faster home-links for UK Internet users, who number two million and are doubling every year. Oftel says BT’s 85 per cent ownership of local loop lines could hinder adoption. The US 1996 Telecommunications Act forced US telecoms operators to give up a line to any local carrier which had a customer wanting xDSL service. “xDSL is being driven by the Internet where a major difficulty is the time to get graphics images on the PC,” said Romano. “We sold 300,000 ADSL [G.lite] chip-sets last year – mainly in the US and Singapore.”


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