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Excite@Home Fires Back At Open Access Cable Proponents

Responding to Monday's report that it is possible to allow ISPs open access to cable Internet infrastructure, broadband provider Excite@Home Tuesday defended keeping cable connections private.

On Monday America Online Inc. and GTE Service Corp. released results of a pilot program conducted to test the feasibility of open access cable Internet infrastructure. According to the study, cable systems can open up their networks to other Internet without intruding on cable operators' network management.

Excite@Home contradicted those claims, saying Tuesday that the tests were not representative of the entire cable Internet sector and that the results were tainted to push the cable industry into the telco mold.

"The GTE and AOL claims, which were based on a limited regional demonstration project, are part of a political effort to derail development and deployment of the nation's broadband cable Internet system," Excite@Home said in a statement.

The company cited potential problems that were not addressed by the GTE/AOL report. The study did not address the need for the distributed network, proxy servers and network management software that "make a broadband network perform and scale in an end-to- end basis," the firm said. Other problems cited were the fact that third-party connections would add "layers of complexity" to the way in which data is transferred, potentially slowing down connection speeds as well as the state of technical support and customer service.

Not addressing these issues shows the haste and naivety with which the GTE/AOL pilot program was done, said Milo Medin, founder and chief technology officer of Excite@Home.

"Smothering the cable-modem industry in an early growth stage is not in America's best interest," said Medin.

Excite@Home came down hard on the GTE/AOL report, stating that the motive behind Monday's report was to "preserve their current business models and dominant market position at the cost of true consumer choice."

America Online and GTE both provide dial-up Internet access. GTE also offers Digital Subscriber Line and dedicated connections to businesses.