Garden State Cable quietly began connecting consumers late
last month to its new Garden State@Home high-speed cable-modem service, following a
beta-test of about 300 users.
The company has signed up dozens of new customers this
month in 10 towns in southern New Jersey: Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Berlin, West Berlin,
Lindenwold, Gibbsboro, Clementon, Stratford, Laurel Springs and Pine Hill.
According to director of marketing John DiMartino, Garden
State will roll out @Home to its remaining communities by the end of this year.
Garden State is jointly owned by Comcast Corp. and Lenfest
Communications Inc., both @Home affiliates, and it serves 212,000 video customers in 59
south Jersey towns in the Greater Philadelphia market.
Comcast has already begun marketing @Home locally, and
Lenfest signed a deal with @Home to launch the service in its Suburban Cable systems in
Through beta-tests, "We found that you have to really
qualify a person's computer so that the installation goes smoothly," DiMartino
Garden State trains telephone representatives so that they
can help potential subscribers to see whether their personal computers have the right
processing speeds and memory to handle the high-speed-data service.
In its initial marketing push, Garden State is promoting
@Home on its Web site, in a direct-mail piece and with an infomercial running on a
dedicated cable channel. The operator also plans to establish marketing partnerships with
local retailers, schools and computer-user groups.
"We would co-promote events and pay a bounty for sales
acquired on their premises and sold by their staff," DiMartino said. Garden State is
targeting 3 percent market penetration for @Home this year.
Bell Atlantic Corp. has not yet announced when it will
launch its competing high-speed digital-subscriber-line service in south Jersey, but a
spokeswoman for the phone company said such a launch is likely, as the service is already
available in nearby Philadelphia.
Garden State@Home costs $29.95 to $49.95 per month,
depending on whether the customer also subscribes to cable and whether the subscriber buys
or leases the $300 3Com Corp. modem.
Garden State also plans to use its upgraded two-way plant
to deliver digital video as early as this summer, DiMartino said.