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Cable Tech Veterans Join Vyyo

Vyyo, a small Norcross, Ga. company that makes transmission equipment for cable operators, has bolstered its management ranks with the addition of Jim Chiddix, former Time Warner Cable chief technology officer and most recently Chairman and CEO of software provider OpenTV, and Wayne Davis, former chief technology officer of Charter Communications.

Chiddix, who left his day-to-day role at OpenTV after it was acquired by Kudelski Group last fall but remains on its board, will serve as vice chairman of Vyyo, while Davis, who left Charter last spring for personal reasons, will become CEO.

Both men say they see a lot of upside for Vyyo, a public-traded company that is six years old and has about 130 employees but does less than $10 million in annual revenues. Vyyo sells "spectrum overlay" technology that can significantly boost the throughput of existing hybrid-fiber-coax (HFC) cable plants (allowing up to 3 gigahertz to be transmitted over an 860 megahertz plant) and a "T1 over coax" solution designed to help cable operators sell high-speed data services to small-to-medium sized businesses.

"I’ve been intrigued by and grappling with cable bandwidth issues for most of my career, and I’m very interested in the path that Vyyo is following," says Chiddix.

Cable operators have a long-term challenge of achieving more bandwidth to deliver more high-definition channels and more robust Internet service to consumers in order to keep pace with Verizon’s fiber-based FiOS service. But in the short term, say Davis, the business services market will be the sweet spot for Vyyo.

Cable operators have been successful in grabbing market share from telcos in the residential voice market, he notes, and are now looking to duplicate that success in selling data services to businesses that can be reached by their existing infrastructure. Operators like Cox Communications and Cablevision have already experienced success in the commercial market.

"What Vyyo brings to the table are some unique solutions, and it doesn’t require fiber all over the place," says Davis. "They’re taking the existing HFC infrastructure and leveraging that for the future."