Two cable-modem vendors said last week that demand remains
strong for proprietary cable-modem technologies, while standards-based versions round the
final stretch of interoperability testing.
Motorola Inc. last week detailed shipment numbers for its
proprietary CyberSURFR line, saying that 250,000 units are now in the hands of cable
operators worldwide. The vendor expects to ship an additional 170,000 modems by year-end
and 340,000 next year, executives said, giving it what Motorola described as a 60 percent
share of the cable-modem market.
Meanwhile, Samsung Telecommunications America Inc. signed a
contract last week with Canada's fourth-largest MSO, Burlington, Ontario-based Cogeco
Cable Inc., for delivery of an undisclosed number of cable modems.
The modems will be marketed to 200,000 of Cogeco's
450,000 Ontario subscribers by year-end, Cogeco executives said.
Both Motorola and Samsung said separately that their
products are in the final rounds of tests with Cable Television Laboratories Inc. for
compliance with the DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service/Interoperability Specification)
Most cable-modem vendors are in hot pursuit of DOCSIS
stickers so that they can begin selling interoperable modems at the retail level.
CableLabs has said that it will begin issuing compliance stickers this fall.
"Customers aren't getting new features with
DOCSIS -- just universality. Our approach is that we want a technical migration, and if we
missed by a month or so, we didn't want our customers to be out of their business
plan," said Dick Day, corporate vice president and general manager for
Motorola's multimedia-markets division.
Once CyberSURFR receives its DOCSIS certification, Day
added, Motorola will offer its customers an upgrade from any proprietary CyberSURFR modems
purchased after Jan. 1, 1998, and it will issue an 80 percent credit for trade-ins if they
were purchased before 1998.
"We are not holding back on MCNS [Multimedia Cable
Network System, now commonly referred to as DOCSIS]. We had customers long before the
DOCSIS process began," Day said.