Five Modem Makers' Systems Considered for Cable Data Specifications
Louisville, Colorado, September 23, 1996—Five cable modem manufacturers have provided high quality system submissions to the cable television's data interface specification process, making it likely that there will be interoperable cable modems available by the end of 1997.
Cable Television Labratories, Inc., (CableLabs), Rogers Cablesystems, Continental Cablevision and the MCNS members Tele-Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Cox Communications, will incorporate key intellectual property as necessary from some of these companies in the open, non-proprietary specification. The specification is scheduled to be published by year end, with field deployment and testing in 1997.
No product or vendor has been or will be selected in the interface specification process and there's no product currently available that meets the requirements of these proposed specifications.
In the meantime, cable companies continue to deploy currently available modems this year and next. And, once modems that comply with the specification are available, cable operators will be able to use both types of modems on the same cable system.
The suppliers with which MCNS and CableLabs will primarily, but not exclusively, work are, in alphabetical order, Com21, General Instrument, Hewlett-Packard, LANcity and Motorola. The consulting firm of Arthur D. Little also will continue working on the project.
After the completed specifications are published, modem suppliers are expected to transition their manufacturing to systems that adhere to the new specifications by the end of 1997 and it is expected that cable companies will begin using that type of product.
At that point, it is expected that modems from many manufacturers may become available through retail outlets as well as through cable operators. These devices will have an open architecture and will be available from many sources.
The three-phase interface specification process has been in place since it was announced in November 1995 at the Western Show. The process is important because it benefits consumers by providing multiple sources of interoperable modem products resulting in competitive lower prices. This process is intended to give consumers a wide selection of products from which to choose because any supplier could build to the industry specifications.
To date, the process has set interim specifications for several interfaces or connections that are part of a cable data delivery network.
CableLabs is a research and development consortium of cable television system operators representing more than 85% of the cable subscribers in the United States, 70% of the subscribers in Canada, and between five and 10% of cable subscribers in Mexico. CableLabs plans and funds research and development projects that will help cable companies take advantage of future opportunities and meet future challenges in the telecommunications industry. It also transfers relevant technologies to member companies and to the industry. In addition, CableLabs acts as a clearinghouse to provide information on current and prospective technological developments that are of interest to the cable industry.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains additional web sites at www.cablenet.org.
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