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USR gains Prodigy's 56-kbps vote

U.S. Robotics announces that Prodigy has ordered equipment to provide high-speed access for its online and Internet services.

Prodigy Services today became the latest Internet service provider to weigh in on the side of U.S. Robotics (USRX) in the fight to set a 56-kbps modem standard.

Prodigy has ordered equipment to support U.S. Robotics' x2 technology for its high-speed online and Internet services.

U.S. Robotics (USR) would like to see its x2 networking technology become the de facto standard for 56-kbps modems. Rockwell Semiconductor and Lucent Technologies are backing a different and incompatible set of networking protocols.

While both sides have agreed to work on a common specification, that won't be ready until next year at the earliest. The key to winning the standards battle in the meantime will be the support of the Internet service providers; once they opt for one technology over the other, their customers must buy compatible modems to reap speed benefits.

USR's Total Control Enterprise Network Hub products will be deployed at more than 165 Prodigy points of presence nationwide. That means, in a best-case scenario, that Prodigy Services will be able to provide Internet users with connections nearly twice as fast as those currently available over standard phone lines, according to Prodigy.

"We're impressed that USR's Total Control Hubs can be software-upgraded to x2, a major differentiator in the remote access marketplace," said Prodigy in a statement.

USR's Enterprise Network Hub can be used with frame relay, X.25, Ethernet, Token Ring, and ISDN environments.