PetroNet, a company with ambitious plans for a 13,500-mile optical network, suspended operations last week after failing to secure a second round of financing. PetroNet is an apparent casualty of the tightening of venture-capital purse strings and the fact that companies that dont have existing relationships with manufacturers typically have to wait more than a year to get optic fiber. PetroNet is continuing to seek funding for the network it wants to build on the right of way owned by petroleum company Buckeye Partners.
Cable TV still dominates delivery of video programming, but its market share continues to decline, the Federal Communications Commission says. In an annual report on competition in video, the FCC says cable subscribers grew 1.5 percent in the year ended in June to reach 67.7 million. Noncable video subscribers grew almost 18 percent, to 16.7 million from 14.2 million the year before, primarily because of growth in direct broadcast satellite services.
1 Million Unwired
Sprint PCS says it now has more than 1 million users of its Wireless Web service, launched in September 1999 for consumers and in August 2000 for busi- nesses. The service brings content from more than 100 Web sites to its customers.
Celox Networks emerged from stealth mode Jan. 8 with what could be the fastest and highest-capacity switch ever to sit on a networks edge. Backed by $75 million in funding, Celox boasts that its Services Creation Switch can route traffic at up to 80 gigabits-per-second, can handle 6 million subscribers, and can earn its customers profit by offering such services as firewalls, videoconferencing and bandwidth on demand. Trials begin in the spring, with AT&T one potential customer.
Linksys last week unveiled a device that takes the PC microphone out of PC telephone calling. The box, an add-on to a cable or Digital Subscriber Line modem that includes a phone jack, lets users plug in a regular phone and make cheap long-distance calls over Net2Phones Internet-based voice network.