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Road Runner goes to Canada

The debut of Time Warner's high-speed Net access service via cable in Newfoundland is the company's first foray into the international market.

Time Warner's service to provide high-speed Net access via cable, dubbed Road Runner, is going international.

The company said today it made its Canadian debut in Newfoundland through a deal with Cable Atlantic. It plans to "aggressively pursue the international market in 1998," joining the likes of competitor @Home.

High-speed Net access via cable is a small but fast-growing market. Some Raising the speed limit analysts predict its subscription base could reach 1.6 million households by the year 2000.

It faces competition, however, from other technologies, such as DSL (for digital subscriber line), being rolled out by telecommunications carriers. In Canada, @Home is providing Net access via cable, while Bell Canada and other companies are providing DSL on a wholesale basis.

Road Runner's residential service will cost $50 (Canadian) per month plus a discounted installation fee of $50 at launch. After that, installation will cost $110. That is comparable with the pricing in the United States.

Cable Atlantic projects that nearly 52,000 homes will be ready to receive Road Runner by year's end. In the United States, the service passes by 2 million homes in 17 cities. In all, Road Runner has signed up 20,200 customers at last count.