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AT & T Absorbs MediaOne Labs After Deal Closes

One of the fruits of AT & T Corp.'s purchase of MediaOne Group Inc.-research-and-development facility MediaOne Labs-has been fully integrated into AT & T and is now a part of the prestigious AT & T Labs organization.

Based in Westminster, Colo., and christened AT & T Labs - Denver Broadband Labs, the tech incubator will focus on providing AT & T Broadband with research, development and consulting services.

The 50,000-square-foot facility, with 85 employees, will continue to explore new broadband technologies, network architectures and information-technology strategies.

"We will focus entirely on providing technical support to AT & T Broadband," Denver Broadband Labs vice president Jim Starr said.

AT & T Broadband chief technology officer Tony Werner cited the proximity of the unit to the MSO's headquarters in south suburban Denver, allowing the facility to "service us directly. There's a great bunch of people up there."

"We're looking for Denver Broadband Labs as the center of broadband technology for AT & T," AT & T Labs public-relations vice president Bert Wolder said, adding that integrating the Westminster facility reflects the corporation's strong commitment to cable.

Both Wolder and Starr said AT & T Labs will migrate much of the management of ongoing broadband work from its various programs and AT & T business units to its new Colorado facility.

That work includes Internet protocol-platform development; common software-system and user-interface development for applications such as e-mail sent and received on various devices, such as set-top boxes and cellular phones; and network-architecture development to run video, data and voice services over a hybrid fiber-coaxial system.

Other AT & T Labs projects Denver Broadband Labs will undertake include home-networking-wiring schemes, integrating messaging platforms, security and service prototyping.

Denver Broadband Labs will also work on advancing AT & T Broadband's fiber optic "LightWire" architecture, which is now being used in Salt Lake City.

The unit already has on board at least one well-known fiber optics expert, Sudhesh Mysore, manager of the facility's broadband-architecture lab, who was the 1999 recipient of Corning Inc.'s "Polaris Award" and who is known for his work involving dense-wave-division multiplexing and system analysis and modeling.

Founded in June 1998 and moved into new digs in Westminster in January 1999, the former MediaOne Labs and its broadband-innovations group "anthropologists" conducted several studies regarding the behavior of MediaOne's high-speed Internet-service subscribers, including participants of home-networking and multiple-computer-access trials.

Starr said he expects that work to continue and to contribute to AT & T's new product development. "That work is very fundamental in helping us to determine what the opportunities are for new products," he added.

Denver Broadband Labs will also address design requirements for network-architecture equipment, including, on a selected basis, the design of headends and nodes, as well as request-for-proposal requirements.

Starr pointed out that the unit will continue to support MediaOne/AT & T's cable-telephony rollouts. Werner said Denver Broadband Labs has a class-5 switch that allows for true end-to-end telephony testing.

Adding to the litany of projects in which the unit is engaged, Starr said, "We are in the process of getting very much involved with all of the digital-set-top-box work that AT & T is doing," including resolving the advanced digital set-top's software stack.

Denver Broadband Labs joins six other AT & T Labs locations in Silicon Valley, New Jersey and at Cambridge University in England.