Optus@Home signs modem deal

Nortel Networks has stitched up a deal to provide cable modems to the Optus@Home broadband network.

Nortel was awarded "preferred supplier status" after an extensive tender process, the managing director of Nortel's Cable & Wireless account Ron Pendergast said.

Pendergast said the fact that Optus had its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cable network laid to 2.2 million Australian homes illustrated the significance of the contract.

While details of the deal remain confidential, it extends throughout the initial roll-out period - which is expected to be completed by mid-2000, according to Optus@Home's director of sales, marketing and programming, John Garner.

Optus@Home is holding discussions with computer manufacturers to have internal cable modems included with their PCs.

A spokesperson for Optus@Home also said customers can expect to be offered the chance of discounted connections by taking advantage of "bundled" packages, which might include Optus pay-TV, telephony and cable Internet access.

Meanwhile, 3Com has announced details of three new cable modems, each with a unique design and purpose: one for the general home user, one for the home office or small business, and one for TV set-top systems.

"When we originally entered the market, a cable modem was just a cable modem," says Michael Pula, 3Com's director of product management. "We recognize that different users have particular needs."

All three new modems should be available during the first or second quarter of 2000 and will have retail prices between $200 and $300, according to Pula.

All three modems are built on the DOCSIS 1.1 hardware platform. DOCSIS, short for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, is a cable modem standard that ensures interoperability among different cable services that offer Internet access.

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