UK Cable supplier Telewest will run trials in January 1997 to test different cable modem technologies on the same network, and predicts that its market will grow to 15,000 cable modem users by the end of next year.
The network will tie both symmetric (the same throughput in either direction) and asymmetric (10Mbits/sec downstream and 768Kbits/sec upstream) together. "We know that both technologies work from recent trials," said Nick George, Telewest's cable product manager. "But this is a real alpha trial on both systems."
The 150-home trial will take place in Essex. "We'll put 100 users on one node to see how strong the network is. Were pushing it further than realistic conditions for test purposes," said George.
"Cable modems should be introduced into a cable-ready industry," said John O'Sullivan, Cable Internet's director of marketing and content development. "We're providing a platform that's available for any [content provider] to join, which is why Telewest set up Cable Internet: to concentrate on that."
"I should think that 10,000 to 15,000 people [using cable modems] by the end of 97 is very achievable," added George. "For the speed increase and lower cost its a no-brainer. Content is surging ahead but the average dial-up just doesn't do everything you want it to do. Technology has been the constraining factor up until now."
Separately, O'Sullivan added that there will shortly be an announcement about a partnership between Telewest and US Robotics, which recently announced its 56,000bps modem technology.