SoHo gets cable modem, big business must wait

Cable modem will be the premium delivery mechanism for the broadband platform, but enterprises may have to wait to reap the benefits, according to Cable & Wireless Optus.

Liz Norris, manager of online services for C&WO, said that while there is a definite market for cable modem in the business world, C&WO is not preparing to launch corporate products this year.

Norris said the carrier is focused on the delivery of cable modem services to the residential and SoHo market.

Customers connected to C&WO's HFC (hybrid fibre coaxial) network which touches 2.2 million homes can expect commercial rollout of the cable modem service sometime this year, Norris said.

"Within the corporate environment, we're not promoting [cable modem] as a stand-alone product," Norris said.

"Cable modem is just one of the access methods that a company may use. [There] could be future applications . . . I'm not going to commit to a time frame," she said.

According to Norris, possible corporate-type cable modem applications include the ability to telework and virtual private network (VPN) applications.

"Traditionally, people who were working from home had to get either a dial-in [connection] with a normal phone line which is really slow or an ISDN connection which is expensive to put in," Norris said.

Cable modems will let companies have people work from home using a fast connection that is always, she said.

The SoHo market, where most can't afford ISDN because it is too expensive, will be a prime target area for cable modem, she said, adding that companies will pay for ISDN for the bandwidth.

"Whereas what you'd find with a SoHo, they'll say "yeah I'd really would love to have the extra speed but I can't justify the price." With cable modem, because it's such a cost effective alternative plus it lets them have their computer and access to e-mail all day, they love it," she said. "That's what we see as a big market initially." In response to questions regarding C&WO's commitment to cable modem above other technologies, Norris said: "It's hard to comment.

"C&WO obviously has a big picture of where they want to go," she said.

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