AOL Networks, a subsidiary of America Online Inc, says it will deploy the US Robotics Corp’s x2 56kbps technology in 120 cities by the end of August, and the entire 200 it serves in the US by the end of September. In the 56k modem wars, AOL and its 8 million subscribers are certainly a big catch. Both US Robotics and Rockwell, with its k56flex protocol, currently claim to be the de facto standard of 56kbps and each boasts that hundreds of ISPs support their technology. AOLNet has been conducting field trials of x2 for a few months and the announcement comes as no major surprise, given that 3Com/US Robotics is the primary provider of modems to AOL. By the end of the year, 65% of AOLNet is expected to be based on remote access from the newly-merged companies, allowing for a rollout of x2 with a fairly cheap and simple software upgrade.
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