3Com Not Completely Out of Picture


Just because 3Com Corp. revealed Thursday that it will discontinue its line
of consumer broadband modems doesn't necessarily mean that it's completely out
of the cable-modem picture.

3Com has a 20 percent stake in U.S. Robotics Inc., which rejoined the
cable-modem market at January's Consumer Electronics Show, unveiling its first
model since 1997.

At the time, U.S. Robotics -- a well-known name among dial-up modem users and
retailers -- said it plans to differentiate itself from its legions of
competitors with value-added features such as 'plug-and-play'
universal-serial-bus ports. To date, U.S. Robotics has not announced any MSO
deals beyond trials.

U.S. Robotics is currently focused on getting its new cable modem stamped for
Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification certification, which would clear
the way for retail distribution.

Cable Television Laboratories Inc. has already certified U.S. Robotics'
'Ethernet Cable Modem' for DOCSIS 1.0. That product is software-upgradable to
1.1 when and if the vendor gets certified for the more advanced spec.

A EuroDOCSIS version is in the works, as well, a U.S. Robotics official said
the week after the CES confab.