Net access in a mad rush

High-speed Internet access is making another big burst.

Jeff Pelline Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jeff Pelline is editor of CNET News.com. Jeff promises to buy a Toyota Prius once hybrid cars are allowed in the carpool lane with solo drivers.
Jeff Pelline
2 min read
High-speed Internet access is making another big burst.

Today, HarvardNet announced ADSL and 56-kbps modem services in Boston. And next week, a major cable television industry show will feature expansion plans for high-speed cable Internet access from services such as Time Warner's Road Runner, @Home, and Continental Cablevision's Highway 1.

HarvardNet today announced "Personal-56," a dial-up service for businesses with 56-kbps modems. The service is priced at $35 per month. This technology provides faster Net access than the typical 28.8- or 14.4-kbps modems now being used.

The company also said it had launched a customer beta test of ADSL (for asymmetric digital subscriber line). This technology provides fast Internet access using regular copper phone lines. Testing is supposed to last until mid-December; then the service will be expanded throughout the Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, areas.

"With these new services, we offer a [faster] Internet connection at a slightly higher price," said HarvardNet President Bill Southworth. "In our market, busineses are not willing to bet their networks on consumer dial-up services with over-committed backbone connectivity."

While the market penetration remains small, these services are catching on. As reported, SaskTel last month became the first telephone carrier to roll out a commercial service for high-speed Net access on phone lines. SaskTel is offering the service to customers in Canada's Saskatchewan province for $50 a month for unlimited Net access.

Next week the Orange County city of Anaheim, the California Cable Television Association holds its annual trade show, typically the industry's second largest. Among the presenters, @Home is expected to outline a high-speed Net access for businesses, dubbed @Work. RoadRunner, meanwhile, is gearing up for a West Coast launch early next year.