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ISDN vs. Cable Modem

      I am passing along this Washington Post article that announces another 
  cable modem trial. In suburban Philadelphia, Pa. we have been waiting month 
  after month for the completion of a Comcast Corporation cable modem 
  "trial". Comcast regularly announces delays in its deployment of the 
  Internet over cable; no reason is given.  

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  [Image]                    BTG to Offer Internet Link Via Cable
  Look at the
  Interactive Post 200       By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
  profile of BTG.            Washington Post Staff Writer
                             Wednesday, August 7, 1996; Page F01
  Read the recent news
  and see a weekly           A Vienna technology company yesterday announced
  preview of community       plans to offer homes and businesses in Loudoun
  events on our Loudoun      County high-speed access to the Internet through
  County Page.               cable television wires, starting early next year.
                             The service from BTG Inc. would be as much as
  Editor's Note: One of      1,000 times faster than links over conventional
  the above links will       computer modems.
  take you out of the
  WashingtonPost.com web     Cablevision of Loudoun customers would be able to
  site. To return, use       plug computers into their cable TV connections to
  the Back button on         receive sound files, video clips and fancy
  your browser.              graphics over the global computer network with
                             almost no waiting time.
                             The Loudoun venture and a similar program started
  Go to Today's Top News     earlier this year in Alexandria by Jones
                             Communications are among the first such
  Go to Local Section        cable-Internet experiments in the nation. Many of
                             the experiments have been slowed by technology
  Go to Home Page            and consumer acceptance problems, however.
                             BTG, a major provider of computer services to the
                             federal government, said it is joining the
                             stampede toward high-speed connections to the
                             Internet as a way to diversify its business. A
                             newly formed BTG subsidiary, called Community
                             Networks Inc., will run the service.
                             "We view this as a real good opportunity to move
                             into the commercial arena," said Leland Phipps, a
                             senior vice president at BTG. "Frankly, we want
                             to be in the Internet in a real big way."
                             Jones has spent about $40 million and encountered
                             several delays in offering its cable/Internet
                             service. In addition, fewer than 100 of 30,000
                             eligible customers in Alexandria have signed up
                             for the high-speed connection.
                             Phipps said Community Networks expects a better
                             response from Cablevision of Loudoun's 29,000
                             customers because it plans to build a lo\cally
                             focused network that will include information
                             about Loudoun County schools, businesses and
                             community organizations. The company said it
                             plans to initially provide free access to some
                             schools, churches and neighborhood groups.
                             Community Networks is using Loudoun as a test
                             market and is looking at forming alliances with
                             other small to mid-sized cable operators, said
                             Randy Hartnett, Community Networks' program
                             manager. Many larger cable companies are
                             exploring the possibility of offering Internet
                             service, but none has done so on a large scale.
                             Among the more unusual services Community
                             Networks plans to offer in Loudoun is a
                             personalized welcome page for its customers based
                             on their own interests. Using software developed
                             by BTG for government clients, intelligent
                             software "agents" would, for example, search the
                             Internet on a regular basis for fishing-related
                             information for users who are fishing buffs.
                             Since cable systems, including much of Loudoun's,
                             are generally designed for one-way transmission,
                             most users would have to establish a telephone
                             connection with Community Networks' computer to
                             send information. That would not significantly
                             slow the system because most residential users
                             receive more data than they send, but could
                             reduce its convenience.
                             The service would cost about $35 a month, about
                             $5 to $20 more than Internet accounts accessed by
                             telephone that require the customer to wait while
                             pictures and sounds arrive over the wire.
                             Customers also will be required to have special
                             cable modems, which cost about $300.
                             "It gives them a vehicle to continue their growth
                             in the commercial marketplace," said Richard G.
                             Jacobs, an analyst who follows BTG for securities
                             firm Janney Montgomery Scott Inc. in
                             "It's a very competitive field, though. Whether
                             this will be a huge source of profits, we'll have
                             to wait and see."
                               ) Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company
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