Cox Communications Inc. won't say when work will start on its roughly $150
million network transfer from Excite@Home Corp., but two vendors just announced
that they will supply the effort.
And a bankruptcy court judge will decide Friday whether Excite@Home can cut
service to residential customers, including Cox's, raising questions about
'We terminated our contract with [Excite@Home] effective June 2002,' Cox
spokeswoman Ellen East said, 'so it's always been our intent to transfer our
While the transfer has been 'in the works for a while,' it hadn't progressed
beyond the planning stages.
'It has not been launched, and we have not issued any kind of schedule,' East
said. 'June 2002 is a good day to work from,' she said of Cox's targeted
Cox was conducting meetings Wednesday morning to finalize plans on how to
service its customers if Excite@Home were to get approval Friday to shut down
and then do so.
'We're hoping that it doesn't occur,' she said. 'It's not the best thing for
our customers or Excite's other customers.'
The hearing, she added, will determine if Excite@Home has the right to shut
down, but it doesn't necessarily mean the high-speed-data provider will shut off
'If they do [decide to shut down] immediately, we hope that there would be a
transition period,' she added. 'Depending on the length of time, we have
The hearing will also go over the value of Excite@Home's assets, which it had
announced that it would sell to AT&T Corp. for $307 million.
A creditor committee and a shareholder group argued that the company is worth
more. Cox hopes that because negotiations are going well with the creditors,
'Friday becomes a nonissue,' East said.
Cox's efforts won't affect the reorganization plan submitted to the
bankruptcy judge last week by a group of Excite@Home shareholders.
'We factored in the loss of Cox after the completion of their 2002 contract
expiration,' said Frank Thomas, group spokesman and a drafter of the plan. 'I
personally believe that when we are successful with an independent ATHM
[Excite@Home's stock symbol] out of bankruptcy, [Cox] will be back in the fold
with ATHM within three years.'
Thomas added, 'It doesn't make sense to manufacture your own microprocessors
if you are Dell [Computer Corp.] and there is an Intel [Corp.] around, and it
won't make sense to try to keep up with the economies of scale of an independent
ATHM network if you are Cox.'
Although the company wouldn't say when or where work will start, both ADC
Telecommunications Inc. and Riverstone Networks Inc. announced that they would
supply the effort.
'That's exactly right,' East said. 'It's time to start putting the equipment
in place. We're talking about short-term.'
ADC said it signed a three-year agreement to supply Cox with 'FastFlow
Broadband Provisioning Manager,' which helps to control the service-provisioning
Likewise, Riverstone said Cox will deploy 'hundreds' of its 'RS-line'
metropolitan routers in Cox's 28 U.S. cable systems as part of the program. The
deployment will occur over the next several months.
The company said Cox will initially deploy 'RS 3000' metro-access routers, as
well as 'RS 8000/8600' multiservice metro routers and 'RS 38000'
metro-aggregation routers with Riverstone's 'Hitless Protection System.'
The router platforms will let Cox use existing asynchronous-transfer-mode and
SONET (synchronous optical network) infrastructures, Riverstone