Sweden Connecting to Cable Internet

Realizing the potential of the cable ISP market, Stjarn-TV, a major cable television network operator in Sweden, is introducing a flat rate for high-speed Internet connections in Stockholm for $45 per month.

The number of cable modems in Sweden has so far been few and in scattered places. The bigger cable operators have so far only been testing their networks.

Telia and Stjarn-TV are the two leading cable operators. Telia has postponed its launch several times due to technical problems. The official launch date for Telia is currently late summer 1999.

Stjarn-TV is only operating in the Stockholm area, where it holds 50 percent of market, or approximately 240,000 customer households. This represents about 10 percent of the total households that have cable connection in Sweden. The company’s advantage is that its network is built with more recent technology.

This month, Stjarn-TV launched high-speed cable Internet access for a flat rate of $45 per month. Each customer must also buy a cable modem for about $375.

“Modern technology combined with our large customer base allows us to offer a low price structure,” said Kjell Hellberg, CEO of Stjarn-TV. He also said Stjarn-TV is looking to offer IP telephony in the future.

The backbone at Stjarn-TV has the capacity for 30 megabytes per second (mbps). Users’ range will be from 300 kilobytes per second to 3-4 mbps, depending on the number of simultaneous users. In the future it will possible to get unique IP-addresses for network servers, the company said.

Stjarn-TV will invest in the installation of a MCNS DOCSIS (Multimedia Cable Network System Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) solution from Nortel Networks LAN-city system. This standard is developed in the United States with CableLabs and used by leading cable television operators in the U.S.

Also on Stjarn-TV’s agenda is a plan to release a portal for the Net that will be produced by Spray Razorfish in Sweden.

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