DSL technology nears, but needs standards

Digital subscriber line (DSL) access technologies are on the verge of becoming viable for delivering large bandwidth to customers, according to a cable expert.

Colin Browitt, manager, industry development and standards liaison at cabling company Krone Australia, said xDSL technologies, in particular asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ASDL), will probably soon be ready for deployment.

However, Browitt said that before the technology can be offered to customers, cabling and standards requirements need to addressed.

According to Johanna Plante, CEO of the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF), the organisation is currently working with industry members on several standards-based aspects of the technology.

Plante said ACIF's technical working committee and cabling reference committee are scoping out issues relating to xDSL compatibility with other DSL technologies, including ADSL and HDSL (high speed), as well as existing technologies, operational codes, provision faults, implementation requirements and equipment standards. Plante said ACIF would be able to indicate the availability of products, following an industry meeting on July 6.

"[xDSL] is a really important thing for the industry," she said.

"We see there is a need to really drive it."

According to Browitt, the emergence of xDSL technology is one of the big issues facing the cabling industry and IT industry as a whole.

With the ability to provide large bandwidth over traditional telephone lines, users will be able to "squeeze more use out of legacy equipment", Browitt said.

According to Sonya Robertson, Telstra corporate affairs, the carrier has been conducting ADSL trials since 1996 and has more trials coming up this year.

In addition to developing standards, Robertson said, several pitfalls, such as interference with other customers, must be overcome before the service can be offered to users.

Robertson said Telstra is committed to the technology and is expecting to roll out its service commercially early next year.

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