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The Wiz Brings Cable Modems To The Masses

The Wiz began selling in its Norwalk, Conn., store a 3Com DOCSIS-certified cable modem kit that allows consumers to purchase and install the system on their own, eliminating the need for a house call by a service technician.

During the coming weeks, The Wiz (a division of cable TV provider Cablevision) will make the modem kits available through the areas it covers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as the infrastructure is put in place, a company spokesperson said.

The chain had been selling other cable modems for about one year through most of its stores, but this is the first model that places all aspects of purchase, signing up for service and installation in control of the end user. In addition, the non-DOCSIS modems being sold could only be used in a few sections of Cablevision’s service area.

The 3Com cable modem has a $299 suggested retail price, but The Wiz is running a $200 mail-in rebate until December 31 for those who sign up for a two-year service contract. The monthly service charge varies between $29.95 and $39.95, depending on the customer’s cable TV package.

The Wiz is touting the broadband service as being about 100 times faster than 56 Kbps analog modems.

The cable modem kit comes with a video and CD-ROM to guide the customer through the installation process. Using the new kits “will be just like installing an analog modem or VCR,” a spokesperson said.

The Wiz can handle the installation if the customer wishes to pay an additional charge.