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Can we please move forward now?

Fri, 11/30/2001 - 7:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

Google Factor: 1,976

Following a spate of fits and starts, it appears that Arris Group Inc. is back on the "starts" side of the fence again.

Late last year, Antec Corp. (which is now known as Arris Group) was raked over the coals for initiating a round of layoffs and providing lowered guidance based on news that operators, including AT&T Broadband, had reduced their CapEx outlays.

In the middle of all this, the company was attempting to finalize a deal to assume control of Arris Interactive LLC, a joint venture that Antec and Nortel Networks formed in 1995.

Financial craters also wreaked havoc on the original terms of the deal, which called for Nortel to retain a 46.5 percent stake, plus $325 million in cash. After months of deliberations, the companies compromised on a stock-laden deal that upped Nortel's interest in Arris to 49.2 percent. Antec then assumed a controlling, 50.8 percent stake in the joint venture and donned the new moniker.

That out of the way, the new Arris can finally turn its attention to where it's probably needed most: on the near-term.

And, the near term, if Arris' latest estimates hold water, appear to show that the company has hit the bottom of the economic bathtub and is preparing to resurface in much better shape. For the third quarter, Arris said it saw a sharp increase in bookings from AT&T Broadband, as well as its international customers.

On the equipment side, Arris hit a key milestone: DOCSIS 1.1 qualification for its Cornerstone CMTS 1500, a piece of equipment that could factor into future operator deployments of VoIP. Also in the works at Arris is the Cornerstone MultiService Access System, a high-density CMTS.

Although cable-based VoIP applications and services aren't expected to move forward in earnest until late 2002, at the very earliest, Arris is continuing to position itself for that inevitable day with equipment designed to help MSOs migrate from circuit-switched to IP or help them deploy a full-blown VoIP system.

For example, Arris recently made available for field trials the Touchstone Telephony Modem, an indoor multimedia terminal adapter (MTA) for early rollouts of IP telephony. CableLabs is presently testing the model for DOCSIS 1.1 certification.

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