RealTime IT News

A Booster Shot for Cable Broadband

Broadband operator Excite@Home and RadioShack Corp. inked a deal designed to acquire new "do-it-yourself" subscribers who wire their computers for Internet access via cable TV lines.

Consumers within the Excite@Home broadband footprint will be able to visit participating RadioShack stores and purchase a QuickStart installation kit that includes software and cable modem for broadband access. Once connected and activated, consumers will immediately experience high-speed Internet service, the company said.

Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

The QuickStart kit is described by the companies as a "seamless installation process easily implemented by even the most inexperienced Internet users." The kits feature an installation "wizard" CD-ROM that is tailored toward novice users. RadioShack sales associates will first conduct a check to determine that customers reside in a serviceable @Home area.

Also participating in this agreement are Excite@Home's cable partners, including Comcast, AT&T Broadband and Cox.

Comcast will be the first cable operator to launch with RadioShack and is expected to offer the QuickStart installation kit in the fourth quarter of 2000, which will be available in Comcast markets including Philadelphia, Baltimore, the Washington, DC metro area, and New Jersey.

"Our business strategy is to become America's 'Home Connectivity Store,' and our agreement with Excite@Home will be an integral part of this strategy by virtue of the company's expansive broadband footprint," said Leonard Roberts, chairman, president and chief executive officer of RadioShack.

The @Home service, offering an always-on high-speed connection, is delivered over cable lines with no interruption to television viewing during simultaneous use, the company said.

"Streamlining the installation process is the critical component for driving cable broadband adoption into more homes," said George Bell, chairman and CEO of Excite@Home.

"The ability for consumers to quickly and easily obtain broadband Internet service at their own convenience will dramatically increase the number of consumers who can sign up. RadioShack's close proximity to the consumer makes them a significant element in (our) customer acquisition strategy.''