A new billing vendor has entered the broadband scene,
capturing the business of cable-modem service @Home Network and Canadian operator Le
Groupe Videotron Ltee.
The vendor, Kenan Systems Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., will
install its Arbor/BP product on Oracle Corp. data servers in @Home systems.
The contract appears to be a coup for newcomer Kenan, as
two of @Home's partners, Tele-Communications Inc. and Cox Communications Inc., have
very close relationships with familiar billers touting convergence solutions -- CSG
Systems Inc. and Cincinnati Bell Information Systems Inc., respectively.
"We were looking for a choice of a billing system as a
long-term strategic decision and, therefore, we wanted a system that would grow with us as
our business grows," said Nick Hipolyte, director of information technology for
The traditional vendors didn't care to comment on the
The @Home contract "is a very strategic deal for
us," said Justine Williams, industry-marketing manager for broadband at Kenan. The
company, founded in 1982 as a consultancy, has grown through the years to provide
worldwide convergence-support services. Its domestic customers include AT&T Corp.
(Internet and local-loop services), GTE Corp.'s Internet services and secure
Internet-document handling for NetDox.
Williams said the Kenan software doesn't have to
replace existing billing systems: It can interface with existing software.
"We've had a lot of experience with interfaces,
and we have had tremendous success getting up and running in a short time frame," she
Cable operators moving into transactional businesses said
building billing interfaces has been the biggest hurdle to setting up new products that
are ready to go on the operators' timetables. Williams said her firm has built them
in as little as four months, although six months is the average.
The @Home deal includes the use of iCARE -- a customizable
customer self-service and customer-care interface. It will allow @Home to write its own
user interface for use either by customer-service representatives or by end-users.
Kenan's product will replace Videotron's in-house
solution to support existing cable and Internet products, plus the upcoming launch of
telephony and paging services, for its 1.4 million customers.
Kenan will demonstrate its product at next month's
National Show in Atlanta.