REDMOND, Wash., May 27, 1997 — Bringing consumers the latest modem technology, MSN
, The Microsoft Network online service, today announced that it has begun field trials of 56Kbps modems, the fastest analog modem speed available. MSN began the trials, which feature the newest K56Flex modem technology, today in Seattle.
After Seattle, MSN plans to roll out 56Kbps access trials in six additional U.S. metropolitan areas this summer: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Washington, D.C. In addition, MSN is planning on introducing 56Kbps modem trials internationally later this summer. Depending on the success of these initial field trials, 56Kbps modem access could be expanded to include the entire United States for MSN by the end of the year.
56Kbps modems will allow members of MSN to access the network at near-ISDN download speeds without the high cost or inconvenience associated with installing dedicated ISDN lines. Members of MSN will not be charged a premium for accessing the network with 56Kbps modems.
“MSN is dedicated to providing its members with the latest and fastest modem technology so we can offer them a complete range of access options and solutions,”
said Laura Jennings, vice president, MSN.
“With this initial trial offer, we will look to our customers to provide feedback about our 56Kbps modem expansion plan and to help us determine how and when to expand 56Kbps access in other areas.”
The scheduled U.S. trials will feature K56Flex technology and will be implemented in conjunction with UUNET Technologies Inc., a U.S. access supplier for MSN.
“Since the UUNET network infrastructure is based on the same technology used by K56Flex modems, we are able to quickly upgrade our network with compatible technology and get 56Kbps access to our members,”
said John Agnew, director of operations, MSN.
“However, MSN strongly supports the development of an industry-standard 56Kbps technology. We believe that such a standard is in the best interests of both the modem industry and the Internet user community.”
The MSN modem trials will be limited in size and available only to members of MSN residing in test areas. MSN has established a special Web site for members interested in taking part in the 56Kbps modem trial at (http://msnbeta.MSN.com/membersonly/56k/) .
To help its members secure the K56Flex modems required to take part in the field trials, MSN is in negotiations with several modem vendors for special rates for members of MSN participating in the 56Kbps field trials. At present, the communications division of Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc. has an offer for MSN members. Offers from additional vendors will be available as the field trial rolls out. Updated information on modem offers will be made available on the Web site.
MSN is the third-largest online service worldwide, offering compelling services, entertainment and communications on the Internet. MSN also provides hundreds of special-interest bulletin boards and such high-quality services and Web shows as the Microsoft® Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia, the Expedia travel service, Star Trek: Continuum, Slate
online magazine, the CarPoint online automotive service, the Microsoft Investor online investing service, and up-to-date news and information from MSNBC News. The MSN home page can be reached at (http://www.MSN.com/) .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
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