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Grove casts doubt on cable modems

Intel's CEO says he's not so sure after all that cable modems represent the future.

NEW YORK--Intel president and CEO Andy Grove believes that cable modems may not be the ticket to high-bandwidth Internet connections to the home after all, even though Intel has been one of strongest promoters of the technology.

Grove's change in tune was inspired by Intel's trial run of a cable modem system in a Silicon Valley town that has been "awfully difficult to implement," Grove said. Intel has been a major proponent of cable modems and one of the companies at the cutting edge of this technology, and the company's new outlook may cast a pall on what has been touted as a promising new solution to replace traditional PC modems in homes.

Instead of cable modems, Grove said that XDSL, or ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line), may be the way to go. Originally developed to help telephone companies deliver movies to the home, XDSL uses a pair of ordinary telephone lines to deliver T1 bandwidth of 1.5 mbps and higher. The technology is now being adopted as a high-bandwidth pipeline to the home for the Internet by these companies.

"XDSL and various cousins of this [technology] are still in the very early phases, but to a large extent, XDSL may be the answer," Grove said.

Cable modems have been considered an attractive technology because they take advantage of the existing "fat" TV cables already installed at millions of homes in the United States to deliver data rates many times greater than traditional 28.8-kbps modems now standard in many Internet connections today.

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