The author investigates the potential transmission performance of pair-wire subscriber lines at the higher rate of 800 kb/s, with particular reference to digital subscriber line transmission for ISDN (integrated services digital network) basic access. Block modulation schemes of 1-4 dimensions, at a rate of 2 bits per dimension, are considered. Time-division multiplexing is used to combine the multiple dimensions for transmission over a single-waveform channel, namely, the subscriber line. The channel noise is assumed to be additive and dominated by near-end crosstalk. MMSE (minimum mean-squared error) decision-feedback equalization is used to deal with the noise and the intersymbol interference. Using the theory developed, the potential performance of some simple lines is calculated. The coding gain of a multidimensional modulation scheme is found to be fully preserved after transmission if the equalizer is infinite in length. However, the gain realized can be much lower, or none at all, if the equalizer is only moderate in length. This latter phenomenon is due to the fact that the noise at the decision point is coloured, due to the inability of the equalizer to whiten it sufficiently.