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06.21.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
New DSL technology designed to allow HD video over phone lines

Texas Instruments (TI) has developed new technology designed to allow telephone companies to boost their DSL bandwidth offerings in order to offer new video services over broadband telco connections.

Last week, TI announced Uni-DSL, or UDSL, which raises the bandwidth of digital subscriber line technology to the level necessary to deliver high definition television signals and other advanced video services, as well as voice and data.

The Uni-DSL technology, which is backward-compatible with standardized variations of DSL, including asynchronous DSL (ADSL) and very high-speed DSL (VDSL), will allow carriers to boost their bandwidth to 200mbps, said Pete Chow, TI’s chief technology officer for DSL technology.

DSL deployments are growing at a fast pace, as telephone companies struggle to keep up with competition from cable companies. The two biggest problems with today’s DSL service involved distance and speed. The further a subscriber is from the central office where the DSL equipment provides the service, the slower the data rate.

TI’s new technology will involve building sets of silicon chips for DSL networks and corresponding chips for customers’ homes. The company said its equipment will go into facilities called cross connects that are built near customers.

Phone companies could build fiber-optic networks to those facilities and still provide service of 50 to 100 megabits per second — much faster than typical DSL at 8 megabits per second — on regular phone lines the rest of the way to customers’ homes. That would limit the need for laying costly fiber right to customers’ homes.

Chow said the Dallas-based semiconductor company has been working on the technology for about nine months and plans to produce the first chip set in late 2005 and begin a major sales push in 2007 and beyond. He said the company doesn’t foresee any huge technical barriers.

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