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56 kbps down to $100

3Com targets the $100 price point as a means to begin moving modems with the new v.90 standard into the consumer market.

3Com (COMS) will introduce a $99 56-kbps modem next month as a means to expedite sales of modems with the new v.90 standard technology in the consumer market.

3Com plans to unveil a low-cost, high-speed modem by the end of the quarter, according to a spokesman.

Formerly held up by the conflict between its x2 56-kbps technology and Rockwell and Lucent's competing 56Kflex technology, 3Com has been moving aggressively to spur sales of high-speed modems following this month's agreement on a 56-kbps specification. Last week, 3Com claimed the honor of being the first vendor to ship a modem based on the new standard.

Earlier this month, the International Telecommunications Union announced the v.90 standard for ensuring compatibility among high-speed modems, ending nearly a year of dueling between the incompatible technologies.

The standard is expected to spur consumer acceptance, previously tentative because users couldn't be sure their modems would be interoperable with other users, particularly their Internet service providers. However, analysts expect modem prices to eventually rise in response to the industry's unprofitable position in 1997.

3Com's 56-kbps Sportster models, already on the market, go for list prices of $159.95 for an internal version and $179.95 for an external version.