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The Record, Thursday, December 7, 2000, Business Section

Cablevision offers speedy Internet access
11 Bergen towns get service

By Martha McKay, Staff Writer

The towns in Bergen County with high-speed cable modems:

Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Harrington Park, Haworth, Northvale, Norwood, Old Tappan, River Vale, Rockleigh, Saddle River

Cable modems use existing cable TV wires to connect home computer users to the Internet. Web pages and graphics are delivered faster than with traditional dial-up telephone connections.

Attention, Internet geeks: Cable modems have arrived in parts on Bergen County.

Cablevision, North Jersey’s largest cable provider, announced Wednesday it was offering high-speed Internet service in a number of Bergen County municipalities.

The service is now available in Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Harrington Park, Haworth, Northvale, Norwood, Old Tappan, River Vale, Rockleigh, and Saddle River.

Other towns where Cablevision provides television service will have to wait a bit longer.

"We hope to have service available to all our Bergen County towns by the second quarter of 2001," said Cablevision spokeswoman Kate Murphy. Some towns will find the service available before then, she said.

Passaic County residents will have to be more patient. Portions of Passaic will be upgraded to provide Internet service by the end of 2001; no completion date has been set for the rest of the county, Murphy said.

A cable modem allows a user to connect a home computer to the Internet at speeds from 50 to 100 times faster than with most traditional dial-up Internet connections that use a telephone line. The service is always on, so computer users do not have to wait to connect to the Internet, a process sometimes delayed by busy signals or dropped connections.

Many cable modem users report they love the high speeds that deliver Web pages and oversize files such as digitized photographs quickly to their personal computers. But there are some drawbacks, analysts say.

"Users tell us it’s great when it first arrives in their area, but as soon as you get hooked on it, your neighbors do as well. Then it starts to slow down when many people come onto the network," said Robert Rosenberg, president of Insight Research, a telecommunications market research firm based in Parsippany.

The reason for the slowdown is that Internet service over a cable network is essentially a local area network, or LAN. Computers in homes in one neighborhood all connect to a network that in turn is connected at one end to the Internet. Since the users share the bandwidth, if many are using it at the same time, the download speeds are slower.

Cable companies say they protect against this by limiting the number of customers that share each local network.

Cablevision has already signed up more than 30,000 customers to its Optimum Online service in New Jersey. In the New York metro area, the company boasts 140,000 customers, Murphy said.

Most of the company’s customers elect to install the cable modems themselves, although the company will come to a home to install the system. The modem costs $99 under a current promotion offered by Cablevision, which also includes one free month of service.

Installation requiring a technician’s visit and extra cable lines can cost up to $150.

Existing Cablevision customers who subscribe to the extended basic plan or above will be charged $29.95 per month for the service. Customers who subscribe to the basic television package, and people who do not subscribe to Cablevision’s television service, will be charged $39.95 per month.

The introduction of cable modems in North Jersey gives Internet users a choice of high-speed services. They can sign up for a cable modem, or try a digital subscriber line if they live close enough to a phone company central office. Digital subscriber line service also offers a high-speed, always-on connection. It is delivered over a telephone line.

According to the research firm Jupiter Media Metrix, both forms of Internet access are growing, but cable has outpaced DSL. As of this year, 3.3 million homes use a cable modem service, compared with 1.2 million that use DSL, and 48.4 million that use a traditional dial-up phone connection.

Some North Jersey towns served by other cable companies already have the service; others will have to wait.

Comcast, which serves customers in Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Lyndhurst, North Arlington, and Wallington, began offering Internet service in October 1998. Both Time Warner, which serves 13 municipalities in eastern Bergen County, and US Cable of Paramus and Hillsdale, which serves about 5,500 customers in those two towns, have said they expect to have high-speed Internet service available by the end of the year.


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