@Home Status Update Q1 1996
Mountain View, California -- March 27, 1996 -- In a teleconference with key industry
influencers @Home today discussed achievements and directions in the company's efforts
to deliver cable-based Internet solutions. Topics covered included an articulation
of @Home's technology direction, partnerships and content, and initial availability
of the service.
@Home's Technology Direction
Numerous companies are jumping on the Internet access bandwagon this year, including telephone companies, cable operators and even satellite communications firms. Many are promising high speed access to existing Internet resources which may overburden the infrastructure.
"The Internet was never designed to convey the huge amounts of rich multimedia content that is being posted on the World Wide Web today," said Milo Medin, vice president, network for @Home. "So adding thousands of users with 14.4 modems, ISDN or even cable modems is like putting more cars on a freeway. Even a sportscar is relegated to 5 miles per hour in a traffic jam."
To address this challenge, @Home is delivering more than just fast Internet access via cable. The company is currently building its own network to handle high-speed, multimedia Internet traffic. This infrastructure includes two major components: a backbone—the information pipeline that allows national and international communications and information transport, and regional data centers—strategically located computer servers that will store data from around the world in local areas to speed access to customers.
"Unlike the existing Internet, our network will be proactively managed," Medin said. "That means that as usage grows we can strategically add bandwidth where it is needed. The fundamental characteristics of cable, like the ability to add channels and increase capacity, make that possible."
Partnerships and Content
The key to @Home's success going forward, say Medin and Doherty, will be the company's ability to develop partnerships with other industry leaders, provide great content, and deliver a product that provides high quality, performance and ease of use.
"As many people know, we have been working with Netscape to develop our @Home browser," Doherty said. "What people may not know is that we are also collaborating with Netscape to develop an open platform for publishing the new kinds of multimedia content that will be possible with the advent of our @Home network."
The company has relationships with other software developers, including Macromedia, to explore new opportunities for on-line video, audio, gaming and other types of programming. @Home is also in discussions with a number of companies that develop content for the World Wide Web, and they expect to make some significant announcements in those areas later this year.
@Home is currently working very closely with its primary cable partner Tele-Communications, Inc., and is working with additional cable operators interested in delivering the @Home service. The company did not comment regarding any potential negotiations or agreements.
The company is currently testing the @Home service in Sunnyvale. @Home is also proceeding with testing of the service in a number of other markets throughout the United States. The company still expects the service will be available in several areas this year.
"We have extended our testing phase in Sunnyvale," said Sean Doherty, chief operating officer for @Home Network. "And, we are currently working toward phased rollouts in a number of additional U.S. markets."
@Home, founded in May 1995, is a joint venture between Tele-Communications, Inc., and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a premier venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California. With headquarters in Mountain View, California, @Home's mission is to provide high-speed Internet access to personal computers via cable technology.
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