Cable Modem Project

ICASIT Selected to Conduct Cable Modem Study (May 1997)

The School of Management and The International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology (ICASIT) were selected to conduct a study to report the impact of Media General Cable’s (MGC) pilot internet access service that uses a high speed technology, the cable modem.

The cable modem transmits data 100 times faster than a standard 28.8 kbps modem that most home computer systems use. It also provides other benefits, such as always having an internet connection and eliminating the use of a telephone line to transmit the data.

Media General, the cable provider in Fairfax County , is considering the internet access service because the cable modem uses the same cable wiring that 270,000 MGC subscribers in the county use for its current cable television service.

School of Management Professor Stephen Ruth, ICASIT’s Director, says, “It’s the most interesting project we have ever had. It combines a powerful technology application with a business problem of competitive deployment of the service.” Ruth serves as the study’s Principle Investigator and is responsible for helping Media General determine the impact the cable modem will have on the participants of the pilot study.

The participants in the study consist of small office and home office workers – a target audience Media General believes will perceive the most value from the service located in the City of Fairfax. The 30 participants range from small start-up high technology businesses to corporate workers who work part-time from the home. The pilot study will begin in early February.

Joe Saunders, former co-manager of ICASIT and the former graduate research assistant working on the study says, “The project is exciting to me for a couple of reasons. First, it is an example of how the public sector, the private sector, and the university can effectively team on projects. Also, I will have a chance to interact with all of the parties involved in the project.” The study continues under the direction of current co-manager, Todd Kelly. Todd’s responsibilities include gathering the data to assess the participants use of the cable modem as well as writing components of the final report.

The sponsors of the project include the Potomac Knowledge Way and the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). ICASIT has worked on several projects in the past year with other organizations around the world, including the World Bank, the Government of Indonesia, The Redmon Group, American Management Systems, and Bell Atlantic.