SCTE Plans Modem-Install Training Program

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The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers ispartnering with Wave Technologies International Inc. to offer new training intended to cutcable-modem-installation times and costs.

By year's end, the SCTE plans to implement programs fromWave -- which provides information-technologies training through seminars, publishedproducts and over the Internet -- tailoring the company's "A+" computer-supporttraining for the cable industry.

The idea is to certify individual cable technicians tohandle 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 ofsurging customer demand for new cable-modem service.

The SCTE wants all truck-roll installs to eventually bedone by a single technician -- a move that the organization estimated could save operatorsabout $54,000 annually per installer. Some operators have already moved tosingle-installer setups, but the SCTE believes formal training will help to expedite thatevolution.

"As time goes on, the skill sets needed to open thecomputer, install NICs [network-interface cards] and do the things necessary to make thecable-modem software work will take training," SCTE director of training developmentAlan 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 basicPC-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 anddiscussion lists; and video clips.

The second course, "A+ Boot Camp," is an add-onto the first course that includes preparation for and taking the A+ certification exam.

A third course comprises the content and materials of thefirst two, plus 10 days of hands-one classroom training and actual modem installations.

Wave will also create a textbook and CD-ROM-complete withvideo demonstrations covering the installation and configuration of cable modems.

Cable Internet-service providers are also trying to developother means to cut install costs, which average about $150 per home by some estimates.

One such method is auto-provisioning -- allowing thecustomer to execute the activation process online, instead of having it done bycustomer-service representatives or technicians.

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