3Com has announced a two-way cable modem system that will give high speed Internet access to homes and businesses, and will support emerging services such as videoconferencing and Internet telephony.
Cable operators in Europe, Asia and the US will be deploying the system. These include Tele-Communications (TCI), the US cable operator being acquired by AT&T. Internet access via cable modems can be up to 100 times faster than via analogue modems.
Cable Access comprises several components, including a cable modem for consumers that will retail in the US at around $320. The package for cable operators comprises 3Com's Total Control modem termination system and network management software, and costs around $48,000.
Although pitched at both businesses and consumers, cable modems are going to be more successful in the consumer space, according to Zia Daniell, a telecomms analyst at Jupiter Research in New York.
"In the consumer market, we expect cable will outpace digital subscriber line by a ratio of 2:1 in the next five years," said Daniell. "Businesses are not as familiar with dealing with cable companies as with telecomms providers."
Cable Access is already being used by Fibertel-TCI2 in Argentina, Northern Cable in Canada, ISP Channel, Blazenet and others in the US, and operators in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and Taiwan.
While no UK operators have announced plans to use the system, the Cable Access components are available to purchase from 3Com in the UK.
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