Network service company ATMnet
ready to extend its Southern California ATM backbone to the San
Francisco Bay Area as part of a plan to eventually sell access directly to users, going head to head
with MCI Communications
, and other national Internet
ATMnet now sells networking equipment to heavy users, such as Internet service providers and corporations with extensive intranets. The company is now in
the process of expanding its 155-mbps ATM backbone to the Bay Area by
the end of June and up the East Coast corridor via a coast-to-coast
link by the third quarter this year, according to company officials.
ATM, or asynchronous transfer mode, speeds Internet traffic by sending
information in small cells instead of larger packets and by using silicon
switches instead of routers. ATMnet's Southern California backbone already
serves 12 service providers, as well as
large corporate intranets like GTE and Lockheed Martin.
But the company wants to move out from behind the scenes, according to
ATMnet vice president and COO Tom Lettington. "We want to get our membership
card punched before they stop giving them
out altogether," Lettington said, referring to projections that
the overall number of ISPs are going to shrink rapidly in the coming months.
But ATMnet will have to compete with new ways of providing bandwidth, as well as with existing ISPs.In August, AT&T's Paradyne unit expects to ship products
based on ADSL (Adaptive
Digital Subscriber Line) technology, which uses
existing telephone lines to transmit voice and data up to 400 times faster
than a 14.4-kbps modem, according to a Reuters news service report. The
GlobeSpan ADSL technology will initially transmit data downstream to the
user at rates up to 2.3 mbps and upstream from the desktop to the
network at up to 1 mbps, according to Reuters news service.