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Motorola, Sun team for fast Net access

Hardware vendors Motorola and Sun Microsystems are announcing an alliance today to help cable operators build high-speed Internet-access systems for the home.

Hardware vendors Motorola and Sun Microsystems are announcing an alliance today to help cable operators build high-speed Internet-access systems for the home.

Teaming Motorola's cable modem technologies with Sun's networking expertise, the two companies will jointly market to telephone and cable television companies a turnkey package of Motorola's CyberSURFR cable modems, network and Internet servers, and networking software including Sun's Solstice Enterprise Manager and Java programming language.

Financial terms of the Motorola/Sun agreement were not disclosed.

With the Motorola/Sun Cyberspace Alliance solution in place, the two companies claim that phone companies and cable operators will be able to provide an access rate of 10 mbps, about 700 times faster than is currently available from most Internet service providers.

But the Motorola/Sun team will compete with both AT&T and Hewlett-Packard, companies that are also currently focusing on comparable high-speed home Internet-access packages. And several high-speed Internet-access trials using cable modems are already underway, including one in Sunnyvale, California, being conducted by @Home.

Although cable modems have been at the heart of most of these trials, the cable-based technology will soon have to compete for the attention of cable operators and telephone companies with another high-bandwidth technology that uses regular phone lines, asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL).

Bell Atlantic will launch in April an ADSL trial in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., that will offer residents 1.5MB Internet access, company officials confirmed today. The trial will initially encompass about 100 homes.

ADSL uses sophisticated modulation techniques to significantly boost data rates over standard copper telephone lines. For ADSL to work, telephone companies must support the technology at local exchanges, and consumers must outfit their computers with special ADSL modems.

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