Ericsson's Napier venture strikes Net gold

An Internet product developed in Napier has taken off in Poland and will soon be exported to other countries around the world. Home Internet Solution (HIS) provides concurrent telephone and Net access over existing copper cable.

An Internet product developed in Napier has taken off in Poland and will soon be exported to other countries around the world.

Home Internet Solution (HIS) provides concurrent telephone and Net access over existing copper cable, at around four times the speed of a typical modem, says Brian Phillips, general manager solutions and services for Ericsson New Zealand.

To date, orders have been received for 20,000 lines with a value of $20 million. Poland has been a test market, he says, "because we have a strategy of focusing on one market and getting it right [before moving on].

"Poland had all the right parameters — the right network, deregulation and a thirst for Internet access. [But] the product is saleable in any market with a fixed network."

The service was developed by Ericsson's data services unit in Napier and management of supply is still managed from that office. Manufacturing of the units, however, is done in Australia.

"It was originally done in New Zealand but we had to change because of economies of scale."

New Zealand companies had the capacity to produce the units but couldn't afford the risk "because we would take up too big a percentage of their business", he says.

New Zealand distribution is a possibility technically, says Phillips, "but it depends whether Telecom wants to buy it. Telecom ran trials of the service last year." However, Telecom spokesman Glen Sowry says Telecom evaluated HIS alongside ADSL in late 1997. "ADSL is vastly quicker and looked [to be] the way of the future. There were a number of overseas telcos which looked like they were going to ADSL, too, and so we made the decision to run with [it]."

Ericsson is now in talks with possible HIS distributors in Malaysia and the Philippines.

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