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Time Warner inks deal to make broadband easy

The entertainment giant's cable unit agrees to use BroadJump's self-installation software, allowing customers to set up high-speed Internet themselves.

Time Warner Cable, the cable TV unit of the media giant, has agreed to purchase 1 million licenses for BroadJump's high-speed Internet self-installation software.

The deal, to be announced next week, represents the largest contract to date for BroadJump, a privately held residential high-speed, or "broadband," Internet software maker.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, BroadJump's software typically sells for $10 to $20 per license, with discounts for large volume sales.

Time Warner has used BroadJump's software--dubbed "Virtual Truck" for its ability to prevent a technician from having to drive to a customer's home--for more than a year for installations of Road Runner, the nation's No. 2 cable modem service. Time Warner owns a stake in Road Runner.

With only about 4 million residential broadband subscribers nationwide, the deal is significant for both companies, particularly as Time Warner and America Online, the world's largest Internet service provider, move closer to finalizing their proposed merger. The combination was intended to allow AOL to offer high-speed Internet access over Time Warner's cable systems.

The installation process for digital subscriber lines (DSL) and cable modem services has been a lengthy and complex one for many consumers.

As a result, many companies and providers are working toward self-installation kits that allow consumers to buy a modem in the store and install it themselves. Today most broadband accounts are installed and activated by company technicians, which is a slow and costly process.

The company also will announce that its Virtual Truck software has installed 100,000 broadband customers in one year since being introduced last October.