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Current moves by the cable industry to adopt a new infrastructure standard could give it the edge over telecommunications in the delivery of high speed Internet access, multimedia, videoconferencing and Internet telephony. Cable modem vendors and networking specialists are about to introduce a slew of new products based on the DOCSIS (Data Over Cable System Interface Specification) standard. This month Crisco Systems Inc said it would work with Com21 Inc to develop cable modem products based on the standard and Terayon Communications Systems has announced a new cable modem that will operate in DOCSIS mode, which is scheduled for delivery late next year. In addition, Bay Networks Inc of Santa Clara, California, last week announced its new Generation 4 product family based on the standard. It will demonstrate the technology at the Western Cable Show next month in Anaheim, California. The cable modem market has been proprietary up until now, said Paul Trowbridge, communications director at Bay Networks Inc. DOCSIS is the first vendor standard that enables products from different vendors, ranging from the cable headend equipment to the consumer cable modems and set-top boxes to communicate with each other. This will free cable operators and consumers to buy technology from different vendors and boost interoperability between cable systems.DOCSIS defines interface standards for both full two-way coaxial cable modems and one way modems that use a telephone line for the return path. It competes with the two way DSL technology that the telecoms companies are adopting. The specification was established a year ago by Multimedia Cable Network System Partners Ltd (MCNS) body which was formed by four cable operators: Comcast Cable Communications Inc, Cox Communications, Tele-communications Inc and Time Warner Cable. The effort is also supported by Cable Television Laboratories Inc.Cable companies live and breath content. They own and understand content, said John Hamburger, director of corporate communications at Terayon. They are already plugged in with the entertainment industry and that is a powerful advantage once they have the infrastructure.

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CBR Staff Writer

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