Refocusing from faltering digital-subscriber-line technology to cable
apparently came too late for TollBridge Technologies Inc.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based Internet-protocol voice-systems provider ceased
operations Friday 'due to an inability to secure funding,' according to an
announcement electronic-mail sent out by Kevin Woods, the company's vice
president of marketing.
The fate of the company's assets -- including whether it will file for
bankruptcy -- is not clear.
The eulogy read like many telecommunications start-ups. Founded in 1998,
TollBridge started out creating voice-over-DSL systems and racked up healthy
sales numbers. But with the competitive DSL-market implosion in the past year,
the company announced that it would shift its focus to cable-telephony
It closed a $22 million round of funding in June 2001 to develop its
cable-telephony technology. TollBridge contributed technology to Cable
Television Laboratories Inc.'s PacketCable specification for IP-device
interoperability, and it claimed the only VoIP gateway that could work with
cable, wireless, DSL, T-1, fiber and Ethernet transmission systems.
In April, TollBridge completed a six-month VoIP trial with Comcast Corp. in
its Detroit market. It also struck a marketing deal that same month with Arris,
which agreed to sell TollBridge's 'TB300' gateway as a companion technology to
its 'CompleteVoice' IP cable-telephony product line.
TeleChoice Inc. analyst Pat Hurley said he was not surprised by the
announcement, noting that fellow DSL-voice competitor Jetstream Communications
shut down in April.
'For all these guys, they have been waiting for a long time and funding is an
issue,' he said, adding, the 'VoDSL market is sort of a nonstarter, and they
were spending a lot of effort getting into the cable side of things, but I'm not
sure how much traction they got.'