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Canada to get high-speed Net

Amid a flurry of rollouts of high-speed Net access in the United States, Bell Canada is planning to offer DSL service to its customers.

Much of the recent focus on high-speed Net access rollouts over copper phone lines, dubbed DSL, has been in the United States. But Canada, one of the world's most Net-savvy countries, is getting into the act, too.

Bell Canada has just announced a plan for a widespread launch of an ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service of its own. It first is being rolled out in the Ottawa/Hull and Quebec City areas of Canada and then will be rolled out gradually throughout Bell Canada's territory next year.

In the United States, meanwhile, the launch comes amid plans by US West to offer DSL in Phoenix, Arizona, and throughout the western United States, as well as a market trial by Pacific Bell in Silicon Valley. (See related story) Bell Atlantic and Bell South already have started market trials, and both plan commercial launches of DSL next year.

DSL will provide competition to high-speed Net access via cable modems in the United States and Canada. @Home, for example, has struck a deal with Rogers Cablesystems Limited and Shaw Communications to provide high-speed Net access in Canada. The service is expected to reach 5 million households, or more than 50 percent of the Canadian television market.

Bell Canada's ADSL service will provide download speeds of up to 2.2 mbps and an upload speed of up to 1 mbps. The telco has been holding technical trials for the service since October 1996 in Saint-Bruno, Quebec, and Kanata, Ontario.

The service is being sold wholesale by Bell Canada to Internet service providers. One, dubbed Sympatico High Speed Edition, is provided by Bell Global Solutions, a division of Bell Sygma.

For those who subscribe, the company is offering a rate of $69.95 per month, with installation fees ranging from $100 to $225 through January 31. Users need a Pentium computer or Power PC, an ADSL modem, and an Ethernet card, according to the company.