CableLabs® Certifies Thomson and Toshiba Cable Modems
Retail Ready, High-Speed Cable Modems Now
Louisville, Colorado, March 4, 1999—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) today announced that it has certified for retail sale high-speed cable modems from Thomson Consumer Electronics and Toshiba, passing a major milestone in the industry�s move toward open standards. This announcement marks the first time retail-ready products have passed CableLabs� interoperability criteria for high-speed data/Internet access.
The first wave of CableLabs Certified™ modems is now ready for retail distribution. Additional suppliers� modems should be available at retail later this year as they become certified in subsequent testing. In addition to buying cable modems at retail, consumers may obtain cable modems, including certified modems, from cable operators.
The retail certified modems are identifiable by a �CableLabs Certified" seal. This seal will inform consumers and cable operators that a modem complies with the CableLabs� cable modem specification. It also states that the device will work on multiple headends, which soon will be deployed in a substantial number of systems in the United States and Canada.
�CableLabs has engineered a fast, efficient and productive process to enable the 21st Century telecommunications market with a data, video and voice platform," said CableLabs Chairman Dr. John C. Malone, chairman and CEO of Tele-Communications Inc. �This process will serve the industry well," he added. �The retail modem initiative provides this country with a digital-based service foundation, which will empower consumers," Malone added.
�This is a real milestone in the advancement of the cable industry's technical platform," said Brian L. Roberts, President of Comcast Corporation and a member of the CableLabs Board of Directors and its Executive Committee. �The new cable modem standard will permit our industry and our customers to benefit from competition and innovation among the world's leading electronics manufacturers. It's simply incredible to see this happen barely three years from the day that the industry began this interoperability project."
�The cable modem initiative is a real jump-start for an important new business. It will help drive down the cost of this technology for consumers and the cable industry, and make our high-speed on-line business available to people more quickly," said Joseph J. Collins, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable and a member of the CableLabs Board and Executive Committee.
�These new CableLabs Certified™ cable modems will allow consumers to choose cable modems from a wide variety of suppliers. And they'll be able to take those modems with them if they move. As we've seen with so many other consumer electronics, including calculators and VCRs, as competition increases, features become more robust and prices fall. This is a great move for consumers and the industry as a whole," said Chuck Lillis, chairman and CEO of MediaOne Group.
�The introduction of certified modems is an important step towards offering customers a retail choice for cable modems," said Leo J. Hindery, Jr., President of TCI. �We are building a competitive and vigorous suite of new consumer services through ever advancing technologies and this interoperable platform is one of the first key components."
�CableLabs and the cable industry have achieved an unparalleled objective with our interoperable cable modem initiative," said Dr. Richard R. Green, CableLabs president and CEO. �We have highly qualified, leading manufacturers from the consumer electronics and computer industries working with us, we have a certification plan to inform consumers, and we have the strong support of our cable operating members to pursue cable modem deployment as aggressively as they can. We have pioneered a process that we believe will greatly reduce the time to market of future cable equipment and services as well," he said.
�Certified cable modems and qualified headend equipment will enable rapid growth of the high-speed Internet access marketplace by affording consumers and cable operators high performance at lower costs," said David Fellows, chair of the cable industry�s Certification Review Committee.
The process has been collaborative, noted Rouzbeh Yassini, executive consultant to CableLabs working on the modem project: �Vendors have contributed to the specification, interoperability test plan and the certification process. Their participation has been instrumental in helping the industry create the first retail certification modem and qualified headend equipment."
�Certified cable modems in the retail environment will help drive the deployment of broadband services as more consumers are exposed to the power and convenience of cable Internet services," said Tom Jermoluk, chairman and CEO of @Home Network. �We are excited about the robust capabilities provided by DOCSIS modems and the wide variety of vendors, including consumer electronic companies, who are new to the cable television space."
�The availability of certified modems is a critical milestone in the evolution of the cable modem business," said Bob Cruickshank, vice president of technology for Road Runner. �We plan to work with our affiliates to immediately start to roll-out the certified product in our up-coming launches and anticipate that our customer growth, already running ahead of projections, will gain even more momentum."
Getting the marketing message to cable modem purchasers and users will be facilitated through the Cable Broadband Forum (CBF). Said Tom Cullen, MediaOne Vice President of Internet Service and CBF chairman: �Given the incredible momentum that has developed around cable modems in the past year, significant industry players have formed the CBF to support the acceleration of cable modem deployment. CableLabs will continue to work with the CBF, by sharing certification results, to help realize the goal of widespread deployment and adoption."
Cable modems are used to provide high-speed Internet and data access. Cable modems are always connected and unlike telephone industry modems, do not require re-dialing to a service provider. In addition, consumers do not tie up their telephone line for Internet surfing when using a cable modem to access the Internet because the connection is two-way via cable. The certified cable modems can coexist in cable systems with existing, proprietary cable modems.
Manufacturers who receive CableLabs certification for their high-speed cable modems have successfully completed an extensive series of interoperability tests supported by CableLabs membership. Modems were tested against headend equipment supplied by four different manufacturers. Qualification evaluation of headend equipment (CMTS) is ongoing.
As part of the certification test process, vendors were asked to work in CableLabs facilities in pre-market, pre-competitive testing and evaluation in order to prove their compliance with the industry-supported program and technology. As part of the certification process, vendors do self-certification testing of their products at their own facilities.
CableLabs certification has focused on how well vendors� cable modem and headend equipment have adhered to the defined interface specifications. The standard cable modem architecture is now enriched with high-speed data capability of up to 38 million bits per second throughput per standard cable channel, with the flexibility of enabling each broadband service provider to customize multiple service tiers. In addition to the unprecedented speed cable modems also offer ease of installation, robust reliability, and data encryption of all information conveyed by the certified modems.
CableLabs has managed the interoperable cable modem process, previously known as Data over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) for the past three years. In that time, the effort has achieved cable and vendor consensus on a series of definitions of key interconnection points in a cable data distribution network. It also has achieved North American (by the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers) and international (by the International Telecommunications Union) standardization using key elements of DOCSIS.
"First-wave DOCSIS certification of the RCA DCM105 digital cable modem is a solid endorsement of Thomson's digital capabilities and commitment to working with the cable industry to bring high-speed Internet access to millions of consumers throughout the Americas," said Thomson Consumer Electronics' Carl Bruhn, General Manager - RCA Broadband. "We commend the efforts of CableLabs in bringing the first of many key interoperability projects to fruition, and we look forward to the successful implementation of current and future cable initiatives with our MSO partners."
�We are pleased that Toshiba�s cable modem is one of the first DOCSIS cable modems to be certified by CableLabs," commented Mike Knudsen, VP/GM of Toshiba�s Network Products Division. �Having been involved with DOCSIS from the beginning, Toshiba understands the value of the DOCSIS standard to the future of the industry and is fully committed to producing the highest performance, most cost effective products based on that standard."
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.
CableLabs® is a registered trademark of Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. Other CableLabs marks are listed at http://www.cablelabs.com/certqual/trademarks. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.