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ISPs may eclipse telcos on fast lines

ISPs may give telecommunications carriers a run for their money in the race to provide high-speed Net access over phone lines, according to a new study.

Internet service providers may give telecommunications carriers a run for their money in the race to provide high-speed Net access over phone lines, a technology known as DSL (digital subscriber lines), according to a study released today.

The report by Pelorus Group argues the ability of ISPs to leverage their perceived position as "Internet sources" may help them capitalize on telephone company delays in launching their own Internet services.

"With widespread carrier deployment not expected until late 1998, that title may be defaulted instead to emerging ISP powerhouses who are able to grasp DSL capabilities and wrap them into their own Internet offerings," the Pelorus report said.

The study predicts that the DSL market will generate $1.5 billion in revenue by 2001 in the United States and $2.9 billion worldwide.

In March, UUNet and WorldCom announced the national rollout of IDSL, a hybrid of ISDN and xDSL. The higher-speed Net access is being rolled out throughout this year.

Telcos are not laying idle, however. As reported last week by CNET's NEWS.COM, Pacific Bell plans to launch xDSL market trials in the San Francisco Bay Area starting in September, competing with @Home on its home turf.

@Home, whose owners include cable giants Tele-Communications Incorporated, Cox Communications, and Comcast, provides high-speed Net access over cable.

In addition, Bell Atlantic has been holding a market trial in northern Virginia since last September. The Baby Bell plans a full-fledged rollout of DSL in mid-1998, a spokeswoman said.