Cable Internet provider @Home is planning to offer services in partnership with Cox Communications in Orange County, California, and with Comcast in Baltimore as early as November, part of a national rollout timed for the holiday season, executives said today.
Cox is also gearing up for high-speed Internet access in Phoenix by December and in San Diego in the first quarter of next year, the executives told CNET.
Mindful of technical and marketing hurdles that lie ahead, the executives cautioned that the launch dates are not etched in stone. But the timetable, more optimistic than earlier projections that have been bandied about publicly, is solid proof that the long-awaited rollout of Internet access via cable systems is fast becoming a reality.
The @Home network began service last week with Tele-Communications Incorporated in the San Francisco suburb of Fremont, California, but the venture's other partners, Cox and Comcast, have yet to launch. A key to the company's success will be a launch by all three partners in areas throughout the country.
The rollout of a companion service for businesses, @Work, is months away as well. Cox will begin alpha tests in Orange County in about two weeks, said Thomas Nagel, director of data services for the company.
Cox plans to use Motorola cable modems for the Orange County launch, he said. LANcity modems have been used for the Fremont rollout.
As reported by CNET, @Home's residential pricing will be in the $30-to-$40 monthly range, excluding installation costs.
@Home executives today offered a sneek peek at its service at the company's offices in Mountain View, California. They demonstrated how much faster the service is than ISDN and standard 28.8-kbps connections.
They also showed off @Home's information service for the first time. It basically is packaged content that is developed by third parties, complete with graphics and animation.
The service includes national and local news, weather, and sports, as well as links to other sites, such as CNN and ESPN. @Home chief executive Tom Jermoluk stressed that the service will provide more than just Internet access, ultimately offering a smorgasboard of services such as email, home banking, and online shopping, among other benefits.
The group attending today's briefing said they generally were impressed with the content, although some found the graphics too busy.
@Home also disclosed the technology partners that provide the backbone of its network. They are Cisco Systems, Netscape Communications, Oracle, Objective Systems Integrators, Silicon Graphics, Sprint, Sun Microsystems, and Tivoli Systems.