Zenith Cable Modem - Technology Demonstration To Initial Deployment

Technology Demonstration To Initial Deployment

A decision was made to deploy Prodigy over cable modem to 200 users in time for the 1994 Western Cable Show. To grow the system from 16 users in 3 fiber nodes, to 200 required adding what became 64,000 homes passed, making the Cox San Diego / Prodigy cable modem field trial the worlds largest cable modem deployment (by service area) at the time.

The acceptance criteria was simply too strict to achieve the 65% homes passed high speed internet penetration which is common today:

  • Prodigy Subscriber > 9 months
  • Cable Subscriber
  • lived in 2 way activated area
  • open slot in 80386 based PC or greater
  • willingness to participate, when called between December 15, 1994 and January 3, 1995

The result was a population of 1/4 of 1% of the homes passed, or 64,000 homes passed for 150 users.

At the time two-way communication over this service area was assumed reliable given that two-way Impulse Pay Per View cable boxes were being deployed to these same places. The Pioneer Set Top Boxes used FSK, retransmitted up to 32 times over 3 days, and worked just fine for up to 5 purchases without a return path.

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