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Software said to narrow the dial-up vs. broadband gap

Wed, 07/17/2002 - 8:00pm
Susan Rush

Despite its price tag, speed has always been the argument for broadband, but one company says it has found a way to narrow the speed gap to give dial-up customers broadband-like performance.

XcelaWeb is a 450 kbps software client that works with a subscriber's current phone link to provide "an efficient alternative route to the already overloaded and congested Internet," according to the software's designer Alternative Technology Corp. The software redirects Web traffic through an exclusive network of high-speed, secured servers designed to determine least distance routing between dial-up users and the Internet. Files that travel over the XcelaWeb network are compressed up to an eighth of their size and decompressed at the user's computer.

Dial-up customers will have to fork over more money each month to speed up their connections. Use of the software costs $12.50 per month, and when that is added to the cost of a dial-up connection, the price gap between narrowband and broadband also shrinks. Last month, DSL carrier Covad Communications rolled out a reduced rate DSL promotion. TeleSurfer Link is being offered nationwide to new customers at an introductory price of $21.95 a month — after four months of service, the price will be pumped up to $39.95 a month. The no-frills, always-on ADSL service offers subscribers 200 kbps downstream and 64 kbps upstream.

A seven-day free trial of XcelaWeb can be downloaded at www.xcelaweb.com.

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