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Netcom serves USR's 56 kbps

Netcom becomes the latest ISP to offer widespread deployment of 56-kbps modem technology.

Netcom On-Line Communications Services (NETC) today became the latest ISP to offer widespread deployment of 56-kbps modem technology.

The company said it was offering x2 modem technology from U.S. Robotics in more than 40 U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, Washington, the San Francisco Bay Area, Dallas, and Atlanta, as well as major cities in Canada. The cost will be $5 per month extra for "NetComplete Advantage" customers, who already pay $24.95 per month for Net access.

Netcom's announcement is part of a growing trend. While early adaptors are eager to get the faster access, they represent only a fraction of online users. At America Online, for instance, the number is less than one percent, the company said recently.

Still, the expansion into 56-kbps technology is rapid and companies expect broad acceptance in 1998.

Last month, AOL also announced it was rolling out dial-up lines for x2 modem technology. It plans to upgrade 120 cities by the end of August and 200 by the end of September.

In May, Microsoft Network said it would begin field trials for 56Kflex modems, a 56-kbps technology floated by Rockwell and Lucent Technologies. If the trials are successful, they could be rolled out nationally by the year's end, according to MSN executives.

In May, U.S. Robotics said it will give its customers free upgrades to a yet-to-be determined standard to ensure their modems are compatible with international standards.