Turnkey-Data Players Gain Momentum5/10/1998 8:00 PM Eastern
Atlanta -- The growing list of high-speed-data turnkeyers
showed its momentum last week, with multiple deployment and partnership announcements
sprinkling the news.
The day before the National Show here, integrator and
turnkeyer Convergence.com showed off its new, Atlanta-area headquarters and touted a solid
technology base for midsized operators that want to farm out their data plans.
Terry Wright, president of Convergence.com, noted the
company's plans to assist MSO Rifkin & Associates Inc. with its cable-modem
deployments, while demonstrating a space-age network-operations center that can drill into
cable networks and identify system outages within seconds.
Wright said the company expects to name more system
affiliations this summer.
Last Monday, ISP Channel detailed more than one-dozen
affiliates of its turnkey plan, adding that Bear Stearns & Co. is now signed on as its
financial arm. ISP Channel's offering includes financing for smaller operators that
may find the costs of entry daunting.
At the show, ISP Channel, which is owned by SoftNet Systems
Inc., unveiled a letter of intent with Galaxy Cablevision for its 180,000-subscriber base
in six Midwest states.
The Galaxy deal brings the total number of homes passed by
ISP Channel's data plan to about 500,000, said Ian Aaron, the company's
president. He was quick to add that the service is currently linked to about 1,200 actual
customers, but he expects between 5,000 and 7,000 hard customers by year-end.
ISP Channel also landed a contract with independent
operator Advanced Cable Communications for its Coral Springs, Fla., system, which passes
On the alliance side, Online System Services Inc., which
used the show to debut its new "I2U" service brand, said it will work with modem
manufacturer Phasecom Inc. to deliver a "total Internet solution" for operators.
OSS executives said the Phasecom arrangement lets them
enter markets that require point-to-point leased-line services for private data networks,
as well as for residences and multiple-dwelling units.
Similarly, HSA Corp. snared Com21 Inc. to provide turnkey
services to Marcus Cable Co. L.P. in its Wisconsin systems in Eau Clair and Rice Lake,
executives said. As part of the deal, HSA will distribute, integrate and maintain
Com21's modem gear, said Ron Pitcock, president of HSA.
Also, Internet Ventures Inc. two weeks ago announced that
it had signed 22,000-subscriber MSO Sun Country Cable to launch its PeRKInet service in
two small California systems, starting in June.
And General Instrument Corp. partnered with Frontier
GlobalCenter on turnkey-data services that the two are calling "Internet Cable
Officials with both companies said at the show that
GI's headend, telco-return and two-way modems will link with Frontier's national
Internet-services-infrastructure combine to create an environment where operators need
only one rack of $75,000 headend gear and one 6-megahertz channel to start data services.
The first taker: Daniels Cablevision's Carlsbad,
Calif. system, followed by Coaxial Communications in Columbus, Ohio, executives said.
Also new to the turnkey side is Digital Equipment Corp.,
which debuted a offering that it's calling "Community Service Provider,"
aimed at municipal utilities. DEC officials here said they will deliver Internet services
to customers over hybrid fiber-coaxial networks for communitywide energy management.
The DEC approach combines hardware, software, content,
consulting and services to help cable and utility companies provide high-speed-data
services to their customers.
In partnerships, DEC is working with Microsoft Corp.,
Motorola Inc., 3Com Inc./U.S. Robotics and several others.