The Microsoft Network today joined other online services and Internet service providers in announcing field trials of 56-kbps modems--another step toward providing consumers with faster Net access.
The MSN trial began today in Seattle and it plans to roll out testing in Chicago, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., later this year. MSN is using 56Kflex technology from Lucent Technologies and Rockwell. If the trials are successful, 56-kbps modem access could be rolled out nationally by year's end.
AOL, for example, started its trial with the U.S. Robotics x2 modem in February. The trial now is being offered in seven cities--Chicago; Pittsburgh; New York; San Diego; San Francisco; Skokie, Illinois; and Washington, D.C. More cities will be announced soon. AOL said last month it also would conduct a trial of K5flex modem technology early this summer.
MSN said it will not charge a "premium" for accessing the network with 56-kbps modems. The trials will feature K56flex technology and rolled out in concert with UUNet Technologies.
MSN said it is negotiating with "several modem vendors" for rates for members who participate in the trial. It already has such a deal with the communications division of Diamond Multimedia Systems.
Also today, Epoch Internet said it plans to expand its list expand its 56-kps technology to Baltimore; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Portland, Oregon; San Diego; and Tampa, Florida; in 60 days. It already is offered in ten other U.S. cities, including Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.
Epoch also uses K56flex technology.