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Japan to try DSL

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone will begin testing high-speed Net access via copper phone lines early next year.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT) will begin testing high-speed Net access via copper phone lines, dubbed DSL (digital subscriber line), a signal that the new technology is catching on globally, not just in the United States.

The test will begin in February in the Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan areas at speeds of up to 9 megabits of data per second, according to Nikkei English News. NTT will try to sign up about 250 households to join in the experiment next year, the newspaper said.

NTT's trial comes amid a spate of DSL rollouts in North America by the likes of US West, Ameritech, and Bell Canada. SBC Communications, Bell Atlantic, and Bell South--all of which plan commercial rollouts of DSL next year.

DSL also is positioned to take off in Europe. British Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Telecomm Italia, and Telia all are gearing up for DSL rollouts. Like their North American counterparts, the companies see a growing demand for the product.

One study by Pelorous Group predicts that DSL revenue will total $2.9 billion worldwide by the year 2001.

DSL faces competition, however. Cable modem providers are rolling out their competing products in countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, and Switzerland, among others.