Cox Communications launched a home-networking trial to 20,000 customers in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The service started this week, says Cox spokeswoman Laura Oberhelman.

Because it is a trial, Cox will not disclose who it's using as a vendor, she adds.

Cox says it will provide networking hardware, software, professional installation and technical assistance. In turn, the company's hoping customers will gravitate to its high-speed Internet, digital telephone and digital cable services.

A basic package for the trial offer is $349.95 for a wireless system and $299.95 for a wired one. Both include networking of up to four devices and two personal computers, and come with a $9.95 monthly service fee.

Cox says the package includes an installation appointment — included in the fee, Oberhelman says — for the service bundle, which includes video, voice and high-speed Internet. It plans to offer home-networking assistance in the same installation appointment, hoping to get customers up and running in the one call.

The cableco will evaluate the trial results later this year and announce any rollout plans then.