Cable Tech

Ex AT&T Broadband CTO to Head Startup

Cable equipment startup Aurora Networks Inc. plans to make a big splash tomorrow with the announcement of a new president and CEO -- Tony Werner.

Werner is a very big name in the cable industry. Until recently he was executive vice president and chief technology officer of AT&T Broadband, the biggest cable company in the U.S. Prior to that, he was a big gun in Canada’s Rogers Cable Inc. where he oversaw the rollout of a fiber network serving more than 2 million customers.

”It’s like Bill Gates joining a small startup,” says Guy Sucharczuk, Aurora’s outgoing president and CEO. Aurora has reached the stage in its development where it needs a big name to take charge, adds Sucharczuk. He's moving into the chairman and chief operating officer slot to make way for Werner. Werner had been planning to join another service provider when he quit his job at AT&T Broadband in September, according to Sucharczuk. As soon as Aurora heard the news, it set about persuading Werner to change his mind and take over as its president and CEO. Werner was already familiar with Aurora's developments and was impressed by the startup's progress, according to Sucharczuk.

Aurora is developing a low-cost way of delivering 2-way broadband services to the home. Specifically, it’s working on the fiber portion of hybrid fiber coax systems. It’s bringing down costs so that fiber can be brought closer to homes, eliminating the need for radio frequency amplifiers. This cuts costs and lifts limits on upstream bandwidths (see Aurora Networks).

Sucharczuk says that Aurora will be starting to look for a second round of funding in the next couple of weeks, and Werner’s appointment “will definitely help us.” First-round funding of $10 million came from Battery Ventures

-- Peter Heywood, international editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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