User fears about the interoperability of 56Kbps modem compatibility should be put to rest by the end of the month.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is scheduled to give final approval to the V.90 standard for the fast modems during its meeting in Geneva this month.
But as the ITU prepares to meet about the standard, the US Patent and Trademark Office this week issued a patent on 56Kbps modems to California inventor Brent Townshend. His claim on the basic idea for 56Kbps modems sent the modem industry into a tailspin last year.
Modem makers feared that if his challenge was legitimate, the price he would charge to license his idea might upset their budgets. Ultimately, Townshend agreed to be reasonable in his fee. Townshend says he will receive $US1.25 per remote modem and $2.50 per server modem port from vendors.
It is still unclear whether the fees will affect modem prices. So far, no vendor other than 3Com has paid Townshend for his idea, he says.
Meanwhile, Townshend is on to other things. He says he has applied for patents on a way to block unsolicited e-mail.
Townshend aside, once the ITU settles on the standard proposal, corporate users who have been putting off modem upgrades say they will go ahead with those improvements.