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Internet

Broadband Barriers Still Exist

Despite the appeal of Internet access via cable TV networks, there are still several barriers to such broadband access.

December 13, 1995, 6 p.m. PT

NEW YORK CITY--Despite the appeal of Internet access via cable TV networks, there are still several barriers to such broadband access, said Sean Doherty, vice president of corporate planning and operations for the @Home network. "The Internet was built for narrowband access," Doherty said during a speech he gave earlier today at Jupiter Communications' Consumer Internet '96 conference. "A bunch of users with 10-megabit connections trying to access a 45-megabit network shared by millions just doesn't work," he added.

The only solution is to move the content closer to the user, Doherty said. The @Home architecture, he said, "will cache and replicate information massively at regional centers to provide effective broadband access."

The other hurdle cable companies face is convincing average users they need such high-speed access from home. "It will cost tens to hundreds of millions of dollars to build out the system," said Doherty. "We need at least 15 to 20 percent of homes to subscribe, otherwise it will be a failure."

The key to wooing users, said Doherty, will be useful and compelling content. @Home's first cable-access trial will begin in the first half of next year in Sunnyvale, California.