The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers is
partnering with Wave Technologies International Inc. to offer new training intended to cut
cable-modem-installation times and costs.
By year's end, the SCTE plans to implement programs from
Wave -- which provides information-technologies training through seminars, published
products and over the Internet -- tailoring the company's "A+" computer-support
training for the cable industry.
The idea is to certify individual cable technicians to
handle both the computer- and the RF-installation aspects of cable-modem service.
Most modem installs currently require two technicians --
one to install and configure the modem, and another to handle the cable-TV installation.
This is a relatively expensive proposition that also ties down manpower at a time of
surging customer demand for new cable-modem service.
The SCTE wants all truck-roll installs to eventually be
done by a single technician -- a move that the organization estimated could save operators
about $54,000 annually per installer. Some operators have already moved to
single-installer setups, but the SCTE believes formal training will help to expedite that
"As time goes on, the skill sets needed to open the
computer, install NICs [network-interface cards] and do the things necessary to make the
cable-modem software work will take training," SCTE director of training development
Alan Babcock said.
Wave's training would essentially add so-called A+
computer-service-technician certification to the SCTE's own cable-installer certification.
Wave will prepare three programs to cover basic
PC-technician core competencies for both hardware and software.
The first course, "eCamp for A+," is a 12-week,
independent-study course taken over the Internet.
Course materials and services include a self-study kit;
mentoring; technical support by e-mail and telephone; live virtual classes, chats and
discussion lists; and video clips.
The second course, "A+ Boot Camp," is an add-on
to the first course that includes preparation for and taking the A+ certification exam.
A third course comprises the content and materials of the
first two, plus 10 days of hands-one classroom training and actual modem installations.
Wave will also create a textbook and CD-ROM-complete with
video demonstrations covering the installation and configuration of cable modems.
Cable Internet-service providers are also trying to develop
other means to cut install costs, which average about $150 per home by some estimates.
One such method is auto-provisioning -- allowing the
customer to execute the activation process online, instead of having it done by
customer-service representatives or technicians.