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Hayes offers 56 kbps for free

Hayes announces promotional programs for buyers of its modems to upgrade to 56-kbps speeds, including free upgrades.

Hayes today announced promotional programs for buyers of its modems to upgrade to 56-kbps speeds, including free upgrades.

People who buy a Hayes Optima or Accura 28.8- or 33.6-kbps modem between February 1 and April 15 will receive a free upgrade to the higher speed technology. All other Hayes customers are eligible for an $89 upgrade. In addition, Hayes is also offering $99 upgrades to 56-kbps technology for users of any other modem on the market, the company said.

Hayes supports the K56Flex protocol being advanced by Rockwell Semiconductor and Lucent Technologies.

Rockwell recently announced that it will be shipping chipsets for 56-kbps modems in mid-February to modem manufacturers, including Hayes. By the middle of this year, Rockwell says it expects products from over 100 vendors to become available which use the new chips.

Meanwhile, U.S Robotics is advancing its own 56-kbps protocol, called x2. U.S. Robotics is expected to announce availability of its 56-kbps modems soon.

Currently, the two protocols aren't able to communicate with each other, so users have to first make sure that their Internet service provider or online service uses the same protocol in order to get a faster connections.