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Cable service hits home

@Home and TCI confirm the rollout of their much-touted service to provide high-speed Internet access to consumers.

@Home and Tele-Communications Incorporated (TCOMA) today confirmed the rollout of their much-touted service to provide high-speed Internet access to consumers in Fremont, California.

As CNET reported yesterday, subscribers will pay $34.95 per month after the $150.00 installation fee, which includes a dataport, Ethernet card, and @Home software.

That price is high compared to most Internet service providers and phone companies, such as Netcom and AT&T, which charge $19.95 per month. It also is several months behind schedule.

But @Home is betting the service will "help overcome the worldwide wait that we experience daily" th the Web, @Home CEO Tom Jermoluk said today.

The service--signalling cable TV's foray into the crowded Net access market--also plans to provide free Internet connections to elementary and secondary schools in select areas.

The venture, whose partners also include Comcast and Cox, is also offering a companion service, @Work, that has yet to launch.

At a press briefing in Fremont, @Home's Jermoluk, who recently joined the company from Silicon Graphics, offered scant details about when the service would be offered nationally. But he said the company is in a "frenzy mode to get the backbone available to roll out nationwide."

The next planned city is Hartford, Connecticut. The service will then be rolled out on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis by year's end, according to Jermoluk. "We have members who want to move into the areas we are going to," he joked.

That comment drew laughs from reporters, most of whom joined the conference via telephone. Otherwise, there wasn't much levity because of a poor audio connection.