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Low-Cost Data Device for Computers Introduced

ACT Networks Inc., the Camarillo maker of communications equipment, said it has introduced a new low-cost version of a device that is used to send computer data and other information over telephone lines.

The company said the device, called the SDM-JFP Network Access Multiplexer, is shaped like a box and is slightly smaller than a computer hard drive. The box is hooked to a personal computer, or a group of computers, and converts data into a compressed digital form so that it can be transmitted at much cheaper rates than is usually charged for long-distance telephone calls.

The boxes also convert sound into digital form, allowing companies to make phone calls over the same system that they use for sending computer and fax information--another means by which they can save on phone bills.

Each unit will cost about $2,250, nearly half the price of most of ACT’s current line of multiplexers. The company said it expects to sell the new product to smaller businesses, especially those that need to communicate with small offices overseas, or those that transmit data via public networks.

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