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MSOs Pump $45 Million Into Home Security Firm

Several top MSOs and venture capital companies have invested $45 million to help fund @Security Broadband Corp., which plans to launch a home-security service reliant on cable-modem networks.

Adelphia Communications Corp., Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Canadian MSOs Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications each put up $3.6 million in the company's second round of financing, after investing $1 million each last year, a company source confirmed last week. @Security planned to announce the latest infusion today (April 30).

Other investors in the company, founded by former Prime Cable executives William Glasgow and Jerry Lindauer, include Catalyst Investors, Advance/Newhouse, Coditel, the Bank of Montreal's BMO Halyard Capital Fund, Greenspun Family, The CIT Group and Prime New Ventures.

Cox completed a six-month trial involving 85 homes in its Las Vegas system in March. The MSO plans to conduct a second trial on another system by the end of the year and deploy the product commercially by the middle of next year, Cox director of business development Jeff Brown said.

@Security is pitching a home-security and monitoring system tied to the Internet via cable modem. A customer could install up to four video cameras in their home — typically one at the front door, a second camera at the back door, one in the dwelling's busiest hallway and another in the family room, according to Glasgow.

Subscribers could also install microphones to pick up audio and monitor their homes from work or any other location with Internet access.

The company has set up a Web site (www.safevillage.com) that lets subscribers view their homes and access other personal safety information, Glasgow said. @Security hasn't settled on a brand for the service, though Safe Village is a leading candidate, Glasgow said.

The company has talked to its cable partners about developing a national brand or allowing operators to brand the service locally with the names of their cable companies, he added.

Though the system is designed for home security, Glasgow said one of its more popular aspects was the ability to use the video cameras to check on the kids and family pets.

"People are using it during the lunch hour at work to check in on their homes, or in the 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. timeframe before they get home to make sure their kids got home," Glasgow added.

One drawback is the service is only available to cable-modem subscribers, Glasgow said. But Brown said Cox could eventually offer a package to non-Excite@Home Corp. subscribers that would include a modem to be used solely for the security system.

@Security expects it will charge $39.99 per month for the service, but the company is still negotiating how to share that revenue with cable operators, Glasgow said.

Cox expects to charge customers an installation fee of $999, which would include the video cameras and other equipment, Brown said. But he expects that price will drop with volume, and that the MSO may consider leasing the equipment to subscribers as it does with cable set-tops.