WorldBridge Ramps Up Integration Efforts


WorldBridge Broadband Services Inc. will go beyond two-way
activation and into network integration, reasoning that MSOs and manufacturers need help
negotiating through a maze of equipment interfaces.

Andy Paff, chief technology officer for WorldBridge, said
the need for integration will become ever more important in broadband systems because
technology is getting more complicated at a time when staffers have less and less time to
deal with it.

Because of that, WorldBridge formed what it calls an
"inside-plant-services unit," tapping Kevin Wilkes, formerly a regional director
with @Home Network, to run it.

Wilkes, newly named vice president/inside plant for
WorldBridge, said the new unit will be staffed with technicians who are skilled in
cable-modem-headend systems, routers, SONET (synchronous optical network) transport,
digital video, HFC (hybrid fiber-coaxial) telephony and standard radio-frequency

"We've pulled in the people who know how to make
these black boxes play," he said, "so we can hit the ground running and take the
finger-pointing and delays out of the deployment phase."

Paff described "inside plant" as an umbrella that
covers all advanced-services equipment in the headend.

"There is a new world of complex broadband-telecom
platforms," Paff said. "The folks making this hardware -- who are very strong on
the engineering and manufacturing side -- are simply not prepared for the service and
support role that they're being asked to play."

Paff envisions WorldBridge getting involved as a new
service -- whether it's high-speed data, advanced digital video or telephony -- is on
the brink of launching.

"The idea is, if you have to send a Ph.D. out to do
the first installation, it's not a real business," Paff said. "Instead, our
plan is to go out there and help the operators and the manufacturers to make a new service

Paff said to watch for integration agreements between
WorldBridge and several hardware and software manufacturers to surface first, followed by
service agreements with broadband-network operators.

WorldBridge is already linked with Time Warner Cable,
MediaOne Group Inc., Tele-Communications Inc. and Charter Communications, mostly to turn
up the reverse path in cable systems.

Several former InterMedia Partners executives founded the
company four years ago.