London -- Cable operator United Pan-Europe Communications
(UPC) will launch a new high-speed Internet service in a number of countries next month to
compete with offerings such as @Home Network, officials confirmed at last week's
European Cable Communications '98 conference here.
UPC has tested the service, originally called the
"Goldmine" project, since the beginning of the year. It signed some customers
during those trials, and the company forecasted that the figure will grow rapidly after
"Today, we have 18,000. By the end of the year,
we'll be at 175,000," said Mitch Clarke, vice president of sales for Chello
Broadband N.V., the new commercial name for Goldmine. Clarke added that the company
projects 6 million Chello customers in 10 years.
The service will launch Nov. 15 in the Netherlands and
Austria. Belgium and Norway will follow in January. All of those launches will be on UPC
systems, but Chello will be marketed to other cable operators, as well.
"We will begin to go out and have conversations with
cable operators that have the capability for two-way," Clarke said.
The service is meant to compete mainly with @Home, which
chose the highly penetrated market of Holland for one of its first international launches.
MediaOne International's Road Runner product is also
expected to be launched in the UPC countries to compete with @Home and Chello, but
MediaOne would not comment.
Chello's price will be comparable to that of @Home, at
about $50 per month. Generally, Chello will split revenue with cable operators on about a
60-40 basis, with the operator receiving the larger portion. However, individual deals