3Com Corp. and Paris-based CS Telecom, a subsidiary of Groupe Compagnie des Signaux, made a great show Thursday of extending their original wide area networking distribution partnership to include joint development of a second-stage ATM/ADSL concentrator for the European market. When we make an industrial decision, we make it where we see a market opportunity, said Marc de Simone, vice president Europe for 3Com’s Carrier Systems business unit, adding that 3Com is seeing more interest in ADSL technology from European clients, for high-speed internet access, than from US clients. We believe the market may grow faster in Europe. CS Telecom will develop the second-stage concentrator with cooperation from 3Com, the companies said. The product, dubbed the Safecom 6000, will be crucial once operators begin massive rollouts of ADSL lines, or tens of thousands of lines and will be available in the second half of 1998, de Simone said. Once that product is ready, the companies would have what de Simone called the first low-cost, end-to-end ADSL solution. The system would comprise three components, the first two of which are already available: ADSL modems from 3Com, a first stage concentrator and the second-stage concentrator. De Simone said 3Com chose CS Telecom again because it wanted a vendor who clearly understands the telephony infrastructures in different European countries. While he said the agreement for Europe could not extend beyond the region, he would not commit to going with CS Telecom in the US, and acknowledged that the second-stage concentrator would not function overseas without modifications. 3Com, which acknowledges it has come later to the ADSL game than Alcatel SA, is positioning itself as the low-cost alternative. We started later, but because of our massive use of DSPs (digital signal processors) in modems – we manufacture between 14-15 million per year – we have a cost advantage. Our current pricing is below any of our competitors, de Simone said. He added that, in Europe, the 3Com modems and first-stage concentrator have been tested in Finland, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Russia. He asserted that, in the Russian test, 3Com’s ADSL solution functioned perfectly over an 18km length of copper at 800kbits per minute, when ADSL was only designed to carry a signal 3km – 5km. In the US, 3Com sells the ADSL customer premises equipment, which includes the modem for the customer and the corresponding device at the operator’s point of presence, for as little as $500. The original agreement between CS Telecom and US Robotics, which was announced in February, was aimed at joint distribution of WAN solutions in Europe.