Reflecting its own growing deployments, system integrator
High Speed Access Corp. is expanding its purchases of Com21 Inc. cable modems and related
Denver-based HSA, which provides turnkey high-speed
Internet-access services to small and midsized cable operators, said it signed a one-year
deal with Com21 that includes 40,000 cable modems, headend switches and network-management
The year-old company -- formed by the merger of HSANet and
Louisville, Ky.-based CATV.net -- has been expanding, with new deals announced last month
to supply systems with more than 21,500 homes passed. Overall, HSA said it has agreements
to launch service for about 100 cable systems.
Officials from HSA -- which landed a $20 million equity
investment from Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures Inc. in December -- were tight-lipped
last week about the company's business plans and prospects, raising speculation that
another significant capital deal might be in the works.
The company is a repeat customer of Com21, with its
predecessor entities having bought Com21 high-speed-access equipment since 1997. The
latest purchase is from Com21's existing lineup of "ComPORT" cable modems,
"ComCONTROLLER" headend switches and network-management software.
The equipment is based on proprietary standards, rather
than on the cable industry's brewing Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification
(DOCSIS) standard. But HSA plans to deploy compliant equipment in systems where it
launches after DOCSIS is completed, and it will make selective swaps of old equipment for
DOCSIS gear where appropriate.
HSA president Ron Pitcock praised the feature set of
Com21's equipment, which enabled the integrator to create multiple pricing tiers for
different bandwidth capabilities, for example.
"You don't have to offer just the full-blown 10
megabits [per second]," Pitcock added.
David Solomon, Com21's director of corporate
marketing, said HSA also utilized the equipment's capability to create virtual
local-area networks for business customers, which provides greater security.
Solomon also acknowledged that the company's equipment
was still undergoing testing by @Home Network to gain so-called Level 2 interoperability
approval, but he could not say when that might occur.