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May 14, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:29pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Alcatel Alsthom SA of France announced a deal yesterday to merge its ground breaking ADSL (asymmetrical digital subscriber line) technology with the fashionable ATM asynchronous transfer mode protocol and burn it into chips made by compatriot SGS-Thomson Microelectronics. The move follows a similar announcement last month by the other major ADSL player, Siemens AG, which merged the two technologies with the help of US based start-up Amati Communications Corp. Both are hoping to take a decisive lead in driving quality video, and other high bandwidth services over conventional twisted pair telephone cables. This technology is especially relevant in countries where there is a low take-up of cable TV or where PTTs want to compete with cable for carrying video traffic. ADSL and Alcatel technology was at the heart of several video-on-demand trials, one for the UK’s British Telecom, but the technology has had no wide scale take-up. Siemens have already trialed its ATM-ADSL project for six months in France in a similar video-on-demand trial.The choice of SGS-Thomson as a chip partner is hardly a surprise given that Alcatel was in talks as recently as April to take over the Government owned majority of the ex-parent Thomson CSF in conjunction with Dassault Industrie SA (CI No 3,144). The technology has had little prospect of take-up in the US where ATM technology has been championed as a video carrying protocol, so the step of flying the ATM packets over ADSL line encoding might attract more US interest, especially if Alcatel and SGS-Thomson can deliver the ADSL modem and ATM access multiplexers cheaply enough through large scale integration. Lines encoded in this way make it possible to transmit up to 8 megabits per second over normal telephone cable.

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