Tijuana and Mexicali are in the sights of an aggressive, $130 million fiber optic build plan from Las Americas Broadband affiliate Cable California SA de CV. The cableco plans to take its Internet and cable services to Mexican homes, and its high-speed Internet service to many of the 1,100 Maquiladora manufacturing plants in the regions.

Key in the rollout is a plan to install more than 25 nodes per month, each of which services about 350 homes, and do it in a methodical fashion, says Las Americas Broadband CEO Richard G. Lubic.

The company has been working in Mexico for six years, earning the concessions that allow it to build the network and offer the services, he says. The company has about 100 miles of fiber cable in and is installing 25 miles a month.

Ultimately, the Tijuana network segment will be 1,300 miles long. A 900-mile Mexicali segment will have a final design in midsummer, he says. The network will put its service in front of 50,000 homes.

Lubic says the company has invested $15 million so far, and Las Americas just made an offering to raise another $50 million.

The 870 MHz to 1 GHz system is designed by Nortel Networks, he adds. As part of its residential service, the company will offer a 256K modem in a free equipment offer with its premium service. The offer includes a remote and is intended to make it easy for Mexican customers to subscribe. Lubic says about 7 percent to 8 percent of Mexican homes have Internet service, and demand is high.

Las Americas/Cable California has a 30-year deal with the Mexican government to construct and operate the network, which will provide high-speed Internet, telephony, data and multichannel cable TV.