Sunbelt homes to include structured cabling

Lucent Technologies` Home-Star wiring system will be installed in as many as 55,000 homes in new developments in Nevada, Arizona, and Florida in the next few years. According to Lucent (Murray Hill, NJ), its agreements with the developers--The Howard Hughes Corp., dmb and Sunbelt Holdings, and Atlantic Gulf Communities--are worth more than $22 million and indicative of the growth of the U.S. residential wiring market.

Mar 1st, 1999

Sunbelt homes to include structured cabling

--Catherine Varmazis

Lucent Technologies` Home-Star wiring system will be installed in as many as 55,000 homes in new developments in Nevada, Arizona, and Florida in the next few years. According to Lucent (Murray Hill, NJ), its agreements with the developers--The Howard Hughes Corp., dmb and Sunbelt Holdings, and Atlantic Gulf Communities--are worth more than $22 million and indicative of the growth of the U.S. residential wiring market.

"About one million new homes are built each year," says John Cowley, offer director with Lucent, "and many people spend a lot of money on video-type entertainment. The explosive growth of digital satellite TV is a lot larger than many of us expected. With our residential structured-cabling system, there is a way to distribute those signals throughout the house." The growth of Internet usage and telecommuting also contribute to the need for sophisticated, high-speed wiring in the home.

Lucent`s HomeStar wiring system consists of three parts: a multifunction service center, distribution cables, and universal outlets. The service center, typically placed in a basement or garage, is at the center of the star-wired topology. The distribution cables include both unshielded twisted-pair and coaxial cabling and carry signals from the service center to universal outlets throughout the house. The Category 5 cables provide transmission speeds up to 10 times faster than today`s standard wiring. The outlets themselves resemble typical electrical wall outlets but connect telephones, TVs, vcrs, computers, and other devices to the wiring system.

"We highly recommend that build-ers give you more outlets," says Cowley. "For video, voice, and data, we would like, as a minimum, one universal outlet in each room. Some people run two to each room."

In addition to distributing entertainment and communications capabilities, the system has security features that let residents use their TV to see who is at the front door or their home computer to monitor another room in the house.

"Demand for technology in homes today is staggering," says Drew Brown, president of dmb. "You simply can`t build a home today with traditional phone jacks, cable ports, and electrical systems and think that home will adequately serve the needs of its owners in the coming years."

Some analysts predict that consumer sales of all home technology systems will grow from $2 billion in 1998 to $27 billion by 2005. According to Kurt Scherf, an analyst with Parks Associates (Dallas, TX), a market research firm specializing in the residential and light-commercial markets, sales of structured-wiring systems for the home will comprise a more modest $400 to $500 million through 2002.

Parks Associates is cosponsor of Connections `99, whose theme this year is "Enabling the Networked Home." For more information, see www.parksassociates.com.

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