Pritz Takes Helm at Jedai Broadband

Settling in as the new president and CEO of Jedai Broadband Networks Inc., former Clarent Corp. and Antec Corp. executive Michael Pritz said his company is well-positioned to take advantage of cable's interest in providing voice and data services to small- and medium-sized businesses.

"Our focus is on cable," he said. "We saw them with an evolving commitment to go into the enterprise market."

Added Jedai vice president of marketing Tony Pierson, "We create a platform to dramatically expand what they can do in the SMB market."

Jedai's technology has been in trials with an undisclosed operator since Feb. 14, according to Pritz. Its architecture allows the cable system to offer voice and data service, then more advanced services.

The trial has produced a bit-error rate of zero, according to Pritz. "That's pretty impressive," he said.

Any MSO looking to launch business services would do so in a strong climate, said Pritz. Cable operators that already have business units — such as Cox Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. — have earmarked their 2002 capital spending for small and midsized customers, he said.

That small-business market is ripe for the taking, he said. According to Pritz, there are 50,000 U.S. buildings with fiber drops. Of those, 21,500 are served by telephone companies; 16,000 by governments or utilities; and 12,500 by cable systems — a large number, considering cable only started to deploy fiber to businesses a few years back, Pritz said.

And some 3.6 million of the 4.6 million U.S. businesses are located in the suburbs — where cable operators have more fiber than the telcos.

"That's a huge footprint," said Pritz, who added that cable's fiber is at an average distance of just 500 feet from such buildings. "The distances aren't as large as they seem to be."

Although Jedai is currently focused on the main commercial business units of MSOs, the work on Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification 2.0 means other opportunities will arise quickly.

DOCSIS 2.0 allows operators to offer symmetrical-bandwidth service, and to guarantee that upstream and downstream data travels at the same bandwidth rate. That's important to businesses that transmit large digital files across the country.