Time Warner Deal Is Ericssons Big Break


Time Warner Cable, branching out from its existing cable-modem contracts with Toshiba Corp. and Motorola Inc., last week announced it will also buy cable modems from Ericsson, giving the Sweden-based electronics giant its first significant U.S. cable deal.

Ericsson is shipping some 20,000 "PipeRider HM200c" cable modems to Time Warner's Tampa, Fla., system.

Previously, Ericsson's only U.S. modem deployment had been several hundred boxes with Adelphia Communications Corp.

Ericsson highlighted home-networking expertise and PipeRider's patented security features as reasons for Time Warner's decision. PipeRider allows consumers to suspend Internet communications by pressing a button on the modem, said Curt Matson, director of marketing for Ericsson's home-communications unit. This provides greater firewall protection, he said.

"It's a way to provide an extra layer of security," Matson said.

The modem remains connected to the headend even when the button is pushed, Matson said, so data subscribers retain the "always-on" feature.

The HM200c is similar to the HM201c that Ericsson has deployed in Europe through the EuroDOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) specification. Both modems use Broadcom Corp. chips.

Time Warner is using Ericsson's U.S. DOCSIS 1.0 version of the HM200c. The modem can be upgraded through software and works with Ericsson's 1.1 version of the product, Matson said.

Time Warner and Ericsson have started talking to retail outlets about selling the modem, but at present all modems are leased through the cable system, he said.

Ericsson has an entire line of home-networking and other consumer products.

"PipeRider cable modems offer our customers fast service, top security, quick installation, and the overall reliability that customers come to expect from Ericsson products," said Ericsson vice president of sales and marketing Marty Wilson in a statement.