Microsoft offering xDSL access

John R. Levine johnl at
Fri Jan 23 03:19:37 UTC 1998

>Today there was an article in the sci-tech section of mentioning
>that Microsoft was teaming up with Intel and Compaq to offer xDSL service
>to the homes for a very low price.  They claim to be able to provide
>Internet access "30 times faster" than regular modems.   

The announcement also said that four of the five baby Bells (all but
BA) are also in on the deal so they'll all use common xDSL standards,
something that's been a problem in the past.

But the important thing they did not say (and which may be of some
interest to NANOG) was what is supposed to happen to the packets once
they whiz down the DSL wire from the consumer to the phone company
central office, since DSL data, unlike ISDN or regular dialup
connections, doesn't go through the phone switch.  Whoever handles
that IP traffic needs a router or something similar next to the phone
switch to connect to those DSL pairs.  Do the Bells plan to hand all
the traffic to their oh-so-independent ISP subsidiaries?  Will it be
gold rush time as every ISP in the country scrambles to get colo space
for a router in every central office in the territory they want to
serve?  Do the Bells plan to sell MAN connections between telco-run
routers at the phone office and the ISPs?  Who knows?

But I think I can say with confidence that whatever the plan is, it
won't be pretty.

John R. Levine, IECC, POB 727, Trumansburg NY 14886 +1 607 387 6869
johnl at, Village Trustee and Sewer Commissioner,, 
Finger for PGP key, f'print = 3A 5B D0 3F D9 A0 6A A4  2D AC 1E 9E A6 36 A3 47 

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