Ameritech, the Bell Operating Company which serves the Midwest, has launched an aggressive entry into data communication. While prohibited from entering the data processing field, the company is unrestricted with regard to data communication. It may even market outside the five-state area in which it provides regular telephone service.
In the next fiscal year, the company will invest $.5 billion of its $1.7 billion capital budget to replace analog switches with digital equipment and to augment present transmission facilities with high capacity fiber optic cables. The company's present transmission facilities can reach 86 percent of the customer base with 56,000 bit per second service, but the switches have limited transmission to 1,200 bits per second-the speed at which most terminals to automated library systems now operate.
Metropolitan area networks using packet switching technologies are planned for the second half of the 1980s.
[Contact: Ameritech, 225 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL 60606. (312) 750-5000.]