Maxxian Kneecaps Rogue Cable Modems

Watch out, broadband deadbeats -- cable operators have a new way to cut you off.

Canadian network-management vendor Maxxian is introducing CounterStryx Tracker for Cable Modems, which finds unauthorized cable modems on an operator's network and disables their network access.

The software is an add-on to Maxxian's CounterStryx Operations Center and is similar to the tool the company sells for detecting and disabling set-top boxes that have active conditional-access systems but aren't associated with active accounts.

Maxxian claims the cable-modem tracker can boost revenue, by spurring users with past-due accounts to pay up. The company said that in the product's first production implementation -- with an MSO it declined to identify -- approximately 40% of the users whose modems were disabled returned to paying accounts within the first two weeks.

"The units come back to paying status faster than the set-tops we have shut down," Maxxian chief technology officer R.J. Juneau said. "A possible reason is that users are more dependent on their Internet connections than on their TV."

Key features of the tool include load management, false-positive elimination, daily data refresh and automated verification of the shutdown results. The company plans to show off CounterStryx Tracker for Cable Modems at the SCTE's Cable-Tec Expo 2010, Oct. 20-22 in New Orleans.

Maxxian claims its service provider customers manage and control more than 5 million set-tops. The only customer the company has identified is Barbados-based Columbus Communications that serves parts of the Caribbean.

Privately held Maxxian, founded in 2004, is based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.