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Cable/Video

Vyyo Cuts Back

Vyyo Inc. (Nasdaq: VYYO), a company that specializes in technology that expands cable bandwidth to the lofty heights of 3 GHz, has reduced its workforce by 16 percent, according to an 8-K filed Friday (July 27) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) .

The filing said the layoffs are tied to a broader "cost reduction program," and the 16 percent cutback is based on workforce levels as of June 30, 2007. The company, which expects to record about $400,000 in one-time cash severance payments and related expenses from the layoffs, had 139 employees at year-end 2006.

A company spokesman said fewer than 20 employees were let go in the round of layoffs.

Vyyo did not say as much in the filing, but Israel's Globes business news publication reported that the cuts primarily were from Vyyo's R&D unit in that country. Vyyo now appears to be applying more focus on the operational end of its business, including sales and marketing.

Some of that strategy became evident Monday, when Vyyo announced the hiring of cable vet Jon Koval to the post of vice president of sales. Koval -- late of cable suppliers including BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND), Microtune Inc. (Nasdaq: TUNE), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and Thomas & Betts Corp. -- will head up sales activity at the corporate and system level to a set of major cable MSOs, including Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Charter Communications Inc. , and Bright House Networks . Most recently at BigBand, Koval served as regional vice president of sales, responsible for the company's Time Warner Cable account.

Although Vyyo's UltraBand spectrum overlay system has gotten some traction with MSOs such as Cox Communications Inc. for business service applications, most operators have yet to give the technology a big endorsement for residential deployments or to have tackled the bandwidth issues that come with switched digital video deployments, either via upgrade to 1 GHz or by reclaiming analog spectrum. (See Vyyo Wins Cox, Points to Others and Vyyo, Cox Enter T1 Biz.)

Vyyo's most significant residential endorsement has come by way of Singapore-based StarHub , which has agreed to begin deploying Vyyo's overlay technology in some greenfield areas this year. That commitment could grow significantly if StarHub comes out on top in its bid for Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network. StarHub has submitted a proposal that leans heavily on Vyyo's UltraBand system. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is not expected to make a final decision until later this year. (See StarHub Goes Out-of-Band With Vyyo.)

Vyyo boosted its cable credibility in March when it hired former Charter CTO Wayne Davis as its new CEO, and appointed former Time Warner Cable CTO Jim Chiddix as vice chairman of the Vyyo board. Earlier this month, Vyyo hired another ex-Charter exec, David Feldman, to the post of chief technology officer. (See Vyyo Adds New CEO, Vice Chairman and Feldman Joins Vyyo.)

The Norcross, Ga.-based company has yet to turn a profit, however. In May, Vyyo posted a first-quarter loss of $11 million, widened from a loss of $8 million in the year-ago period.

Vyyo shares were down 28 cents (4.44 percent) to $6.02 apiece in early trading Monday.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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