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Five years ago: Cable modem road could be bumpy

Standards must be ironed out before cable modems become popular, warns expert

A Hayes executive yesterday warned that the advent of cable modems could be strewn with difficulties. The comments came on the back of Nynex CableComms' announcement earlier this week that it plans to trial Motorola's CyberSURFR cable modems in the Manchester area from next month.

"There are some plus points and some minus points to cable modems," said Bill Pechey, chief engineering officer for Hayes Europe. "The UK has some of the most advanced infrastructure in the world with lots of fibre so they have the infrastructure although they don't have so much penetration. Everyone talks about the Internet being the driving force but having 10, 20, 30Mbps is no use if there isn't the [ISP] infrastructure. There has to be the investment in routers and so on at the ISP end. It could be also useful for LAN interconnects where pages and pages of data are streamed back."

Pechey also cautioned that standards will need to be ironed out before cable takes off. "There are some incompatibility issues. The first wave of cable modems are all incompatible with each other [although] standards work is going on in the US. I think [the progress of cable modems] will go fairly slowly."