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November 23, 1995

NORTHERN TELECOM HINTS OF ENTRANCE INTO THE INTERACTIVE TELEVISION EQUIPMENT BUSINESS

By CBR Staff Writer

Northern Telecom Ltd has suggested that it may move into the interactive television equipment business. The suggestion was made at the launch of its Cornerstone broadband product family at the European Cable Communications show in London. Cornerstone Data, which is already available in the US, is designed to enable cable operators to connect homes and small businesses over hybrid fibre or co-axial cable to wide area networks. By wide area networks North Telecom includes the Internet and 10Mbps Ethernet bandwidths to the small user. Simon Littlejohn, marketing manager of the Canadian’s cable television account group, said Nortel was pursuing the interactive television path although he was unwilling to make any further comment regarding strategy or future plans. Nortel is supplying equipment to the Bell Cablemedia Plc-Nynex Cablecomms Plc-TeleWest Plc media laboratory in the UK. It is expected that this agreement will extend eventually into trials similar to those already involving the US derivatives across the Atlantic. Also announced at the show was the Cornerstone Voice product, an end-to-end product designed to give cable operators flexible entry into the speech telephony market. The two Cornerstone products are based around the DMS100 voice switch, the Magellan Asynchronous Transfer Mode switch and supports the Synchronous Digital Hierarchy transport standard. Northern Telecom admitted that the nature of the extensible network was bursty, which counts on users requiring short bursts of data rather than continuous access. The technology was unsuitable for continuous high-bandwidth usage, the company said. It seems likely, therefore, that tariff structures will include a ‘gold’ service guaranteeing a couple of Megabits per second bandwidth, and various economy deals for the rest of the market.

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