Compaq Computer Corp this week announced an alliance with @Home Networks, the California-based provider of high-speed internet access and content services, to offer customers net access via high-speed cable modems. The company, 39% owned by Tele- Communications Inc which agreed to be acquired by AT&T earlier this year (CI No 3,439), signed the same deal with Dell Computer Corp last week and said it is working on establishing more partners over time. We’re talking with the top six PC manufacturers, @Home’s director of business development, Paul Salzinger, told ComputerWire, at the moment it’s too early to say who, but there are announcements pending. Under the agreements, Salzinger said both Compaq and Dell would actively market @Home’s two-way cable service to their customers and access would be provided via the purchase of a $60 to $80 network interface card. But he added that the PC makers were currently developing ways to integrate cable modems internally within future versions of their computers, throughout 1999. He said joint marketing initiatives, exploiting all Compaq and Dell’s current sales channels, would begin in the first quarter of next year. Although the actual penetration of cable modem technology is still relatively small, @Home says it’s growing all the time. The company has more than quadrupled its base since the start of the year and as of September 30 it was supplying 210,000 cable modem subscribers across the country, up 43% since the end of June. The number of homes equipped with the upgraded two-way cable system totaled 10 million at the end of the quarter, up 2.1 million from three months earlier. The overall penetration rate though, is still just 2.1%.
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