Saturn makes first cable modem sales

Saturn Communications has made its first sales of cable modems after launching to the business market last month. Com 21 modems, each with a 10Mbit/s download and a 2Mbit/s upload capability, have been sold to three businesses, which Saturn did not name. The business launch follows a residential trial in the last quarter of 1997 in which 40 households took part.

Saturn Communications has made its first sales of cable modems after launching to the business market last month.

Com 21 modems, each with a 10Mbit/s download and a 2Mbit/s upload capability, have been sold to three businesses, which Saturn did not name.

The business launch follows a residential trial in the last quarter of 1997, says IS director Jenny Morti-mer. Forty households took part in the trial.

“The technology went like a dream,” Mortimer says.

“It was very easy to install and to support. We subsequently surveyed our customers on what they were prepared to pay and on having a permanent connection.

“A small number were prepared to pay the cost of around $1000 a modem.”

There are monthly charges on top of that. A business wanting 500Mbit/s downstream capacity will pay $400 a month; 128Mbit/s costs $150 a month.

“There was also a lot of interest from IT managers because the technology is very suitable for teleworking.”

Mortimer says a cable modem service and perhaps other technologies such as ADSL will be offered to the residential market within the next three to six months.

“It’s a case of horses for courses.”

Saturn trialled the modems with Atrix and Netlink, both of which it remains interconnected with. Mortimer says she believes Telecom’s ADSL trials — particularly in Khandallah, where Saturn will next take its telephone service — are probably a result of Saturn’s cable modem trials.

“It’s interesting that they [Telecom] have moved their ADSL trials to the Hutt Valley and have approached the business market there on a trial basis. Hutt Valley business customers in particular are paying through the nose for ISDN.”

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