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No growth at cable modem firm

In a sign of the risks inherent in the much-hyped cable modem business, Hybrid Networks expects first-quarter revenue to stay flat.

In a sign of the risks inherent in the much-hyped cable modem business, Hybrid Networks said today that it expects first-quarter revenue to stay flat at about $5 million, the same as the previous reporting period, because of sluggish demand for some products.

Hybrid Networks, run by former AT&T top executive Carl Ledbetter, is considered one of the more promising start-ups but has seen its stock decline since it went public last fall. The business to supply these high-speed products, a fast-growing but small market, is proving to be highly competitive.

"We are experiencing some weakness in demand for our cable and wireless systems that utilize telephone return," the company said in a statement. "In particular, one major customer canceled an order that was scheduled for delivery in the first quarter."

That cancellation alone will cut expected revenue for the quarter by about $400,000. But Hybrid Networks added: "We expect the order will be reinstated when their internal issues are resolved."

In addition, the company said it experienced a shift into late March of shipments it had expected to be "well within the quarter" for a two-way transmission product called QPSK.