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High-speed rollouts under way

High-speed Net access is on a roll, both via cable and phone lines for @Home, Progressive Networks, and other companies.

By Jeff Pelline High-speed Net access is on a roll, both via cable and phone lines.

@Home (ATHM) and Progressive Networks today announced the first consumer trial of broadband multicast services to all @Home users.

It comes as the John Buck Company, a Chicago-based national real estate management corporation, said it would offer ADSL service to apartments and commercial complexes in the Midwest, part of a growing trend.

Penetration for high-speed Net access still is low compared with standard dial-up modem connections, but both of these examples show the aggressive rollouts now under way throughout the country.

In the @Home trial, users will receive multimedia using the RealAudio and RealVideo-equipped RealPlayer 4.0. The offerings will include features such as music videos and movie trailers. "Multicasting technology is a smarter networking scheme," said Milo Medin, vice president of network for @Home, in a statement. "It not only provides savings in network and server resources but it enables exciting new applications not feasible with unicast technologies."

In the xDSL service, John Buck is teaming up with American Information Systems and Westell Technologies. Its first building is a high-rise in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago and home to Northwestern University.

Similar rollouts are under way elsewhere. Earlier this year, for example, CAIS Internet said it would offer high-speed Net access over phone lines in the Washington, D.C., area. It will expand the launch to include San Francisco, Chicago, and New York during the next 18 months.