Thanks to Rick Teale for tipping me off to this story: A tentative agreement was reached last week on a standard for 56K modems. Currently, consumers are forced to choose between competing--and incompatible--56K modems. The preliminary standard for 56K modems is now likely to be decided at a January meeting of the International Telecommunications Union.
Apparently, modem manufacturers such as Rockwell, 3Com, and Motorola have finally decided that the absence of a 56K modem standard is harming the industry and will settle their differences and opt for a single technology.
Stay tuned, this one might actually happen