March 6, 1996
Page B1 ||© 1996 San Francisco Chronicle|
Is anybody home @Home? In October, @Home, an alliance of Tele-Communications Inc. and Menlo Park venture capitalists Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said it would launch high-speed Internet access in Sunnyvale in early 1996 for $30 to $50 per month. But so far the service -- which would bring the Internet into the home or office via cable TV into a personal computer -- is not available to anyone except test households. The company hasn't provided any details or firm timetable for a wider rollout.
Meanwhile, AT&T and Pacific Bell will begin selling their own Internet access via phone lines to Bay Area residents within weeks.
@Home won't offer a specific date for providing the service to Sunnyvale residents, Sean Doherty, the company's newly named chief operating officer, said yesterday. ``It's still early 1996,'' he pointed out.
Doherty said deals with content providers may be announced shortly but declined to elaborate.
According to a TCI spokeswoman, however, @Home will be up and running in ``mid-1996.''
The company's Internet home page says the service will ``begin in 1996 in select national markets, starting with Sunnyvale.''
When consumers call TCI's customer service department and ask about the service, they are referred to an old telephone number for @Home's offices, which directs callers to the new number.
The dearth of information from @Home also comes as TCI -- the Bay Area's biggest cable TV provider -- is planning to raise cable TV rates by 15 percent, partly to help pay for upgrades such as Internet access.
@Home originally planned to locate its headquarters in Sunnyvale and had secured the office space. But according to its home page, the company has decided to make its home in Mountain View instead.
The company keeps beefing up management. It recently named two executives, Doherty in operations and Dean Gilbert in sales and marketing, as senior vice presidents.
@Home's chief executive Will Hearst has been making speeches about the company's mission recently. On Thursday, he will deliver a keynote speech at the Netscape Internet Developer Conference in San Francisco.
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