the home. This unevenly balanced bandwidth is ideal for both VOD and Internet access, because both services depend more on incoming data.

Currently, some telecommunication companies are offering Internet access packages using ADSL: Home packages with 256Kbps access cost about $40 per month and up. A package meant for intensive users needing speeds from 1 to 7 megabits per second (Mbps) begins at $120 per month. Some computer companies might soon provide personal computers with ADSL modems built in.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode

Currently, ATM appears to be the long-term goal for most telephone companies. ATM is the ideal solution for the multimedia traffic, because it is capable of switching voice, data and video traffic.

However, ATM is an end-to-end solution, which means that the technology is used within the entire network, from the consumer's home or office and throughout a WAN.

Implementing an ATM network involves upgrading all of the switches within the network, making it a very expensive technology to install. Although ATM can work on a copper-based infrastructure, most operators are anticipating its use within fiber-based networks.

Since setting up an ATM network involves essentially starting again with the telecommunications infrastructure, it is not expected to be widespread for another five to 10 years.

Currently, ATM is being used by businesses as a local-area-networking solution, although some telephone companies are now beginning to implement ATM for the part of the network that handles major traffic.

We are heading to where everyone accessing the Internet will have immediate access to full-motion video, Internet telephones and various forms of broadcasts, etc. Build faster networks, and they will come!

Gordon E.J. Hoke is a journalist and consultant based in Plainview, Minn. He can be reached at 507/534-2293.

August Table of Contents