Bell to Add Broadband Wireless

FRAMINGHAM (04/05/2000) - Bell Atlantic Corp. admits that if you want to sell low-cost, high-bandwidth services to everyone, you can't rely solely on digital subscriber line.

The carrier says it will use broadband wireless to expand the availability and hasten the introduction of high-speed services. The wireless service will be called Infospeed DSL, although it won't actually be based on DSL technology. It will, however, offer similar speeds.

The wireless service is an acknowledgement that not all broadband service needs can be met by DSL. While DSL travels on regular phone lines, some lines do not meet the technical requirements for DSL.

By year-end, customers seeking the carrier's high-speed dedicated access will have the option of fixed, broadband wireless connections instead of asymmetric DSL.

The current Infospeed DSL service offers speeds ranging from 640K-bps to 7.1M-bps downloads and relies only on regular phone lines turned into high-speed data pipes by DSL technology. Bell Atlantic hasn't yet worked out what speeds the wireless service will support.

To back up its commitment to fixed wireless, Bell Atlantic is investing an undisclosed sum in Radix Wireless, which is developing a wireless system to Bell Atlantic's specifications.

Bell Atlantic says the wireless technology will be used to reach customers whose sites lie beyond the distance limitations of DSL, about three miles from a phone switching office. The carrier says in some cases it may be able to deliver wireless service more quickly than it can roll out DSL, which sometimes requires new wires to be strung and multiple technician visits.

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