AT&T BroadJumps Into Self-Provisioning

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BroadJump Inc. said cable giant AT&T Broadband has agreed to deploy its "Virtual Truck Installer" provisioning software in six markets, following a six-month evaluation by the MSO.

After completing a trial in Steubenville, Ohio, near Pittsburgh, AT&T Broadband said it would provision high-speed cable modem services using Virtual Truck in Dallas; Denver; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area.

BroadJump's Virtual Truck enables cable-modem customers to provision their own equipment and services. The software automatically configures computers for high-speed services by qualifying the equipment, configuring the operating system and running a number of connectivity tests.

The result is intended to help cable operators save money on expensive truck rolls to consumer homes.

BroadJump-which competes in the provisioning arena with the likes of AP Engines Inc., CEON Corp., Emperative Inc., Interactive Enterprise Ltd. and Redback Networks Inc.-also offers a technician-assisted installation model.

The Virtual Truck trial in Steubenville generated a 92 percent success rate among self-installing subscribers, AT&T Broadband spokesman Steve Lang said. Initial tests also cut installation times by 10 minutes and the number of service calls for new installations by about 50 percent.

Typical Virtual Truck-assisted installations take between five and 20 minutes, depending on how many applications are involved and the number of accounts a customer requires, BroadJump president and CEO Kip McClanahan said.

AT&T Broadband said it would not offer the retail fulfillment version of BroadJump's software. Instead, the MSO will bundle Virtual Truck with Excite@Home Corp's "QuickStart" installation kit when the MSO offers it through RadioShack Corp. stores.

Excite@Home cable partners Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications Inc. have also agreed to use Excite@Home's self-installation kits. Comcast will be the first to offer it later this year in Philadelphia, Baltimore, areas of New Jersey and metropolitan Washington, D.C.

AT&T Broadband and BroadJump are also default partners from the MSO's purchase of MediaOne Group Inc. earlier this year. In May, MediaOne agreed to use Virtual Truck in its Road Runner high-speed markets. In turn, Road Runner also has an agreement with BroadJump, offering a customized version of the software called "CorrectConnect."

"As MediaOne got folded into AT&T, they wanted to duplicate (the provisioning process) because of the success MediaOne had using our software," McClanahan said. AT&T Broadband will purchase a software license fee for each copy of the Virtual Truck software, he added.

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