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Wharf Cable Resorts To Dial-up Internet Service

Hong Kong's Wharf Cable has launched a dial-up Internet service (56 kbps); the move is a surprise to industry observers because the cable television carrier plans to launch a broadband multimedia and Internet service of 10 mbps and 38 mbps at mid-year.

"Since we don't have our cable modem service ready yet, we think we should launch a narrow band service," said Daniel Ng, Wharf's director of its Cable Multimedia Services (CMS). "The reason why we have confidence in the dial-up market is because we find that the Internet market is still growing."

"There still are a lot of potential Internet users that have not joined the bandwagon," Ng added.

However, industry banter has indicated that Wharf has been encountering technical difficulties in implementing the broadband service on its transmission-oriented cable network.

"We need to do something for the HFC," Ng admitted to InternetNews. "Every cable operation has to go through the same kind of work."

Ng said that the ISP industry in Hong Kong has room to improve in these categories: reliability, speed, content, pricing, and service quality, and that Wharf's dial-up service would address these problems.

Ng pointed out that it was difficult to find the right talent in Hong Kong to support the Internet business.

"I am a bit lucky because we had a complete team ready when we started," commented Ng.

The former director of Hong Kong Star Internet brought 50 staff with him when he joined Wharf.

Ng left Star after Hongkong Telecom purchased the rival ISP in November of last year.

In regard to Wharf's Internet service, Ng promised to make sure there are no busy lines, to have good stability, and to main high speeds to international links.

In terms of content, CMS will attempt to leverage off its parent company's cable television content.

Wharf CMS plans to develop a Chinese language portal as customers' entry point and a virtual community of users and interest groups.



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