CABLEWORLD STAFF Manticom Networks last week announced that it has successfully completed interoperability tests between its Scorpion 4104 and SeaChange International’s VOD System, certifying the switching and transport aspects of Manticom’s integrated solution. Manticom’s Scorpion 4104 is a multigigabit optical Ethernet switching and transport solution that provides scalability from 2.5 Gbps to 20 Gbps. It is specifically designed to provide a large, robust backbone network capable of delivering traffic reliably and at extremely low cost per provisioned digital cable subscriber. The shift in network architecture should significantly diminish the capex requirements of an MSO to implement on-demand services. A Nielsen study found that home broadband access has continued to grow by leaps and bounds, posting a 59% year-over-year increase, or more than 33.6 million HSD users accessing as of December 2002. Although dial-up users still make up the lion’s share of online Americans, narrowband access dipped 10% in December. The Nielsen report also said broadband users were spending more time online and were logging more than twice the number of page views as do dial-up users. Motorola said it will make a tender offer for all outstanding publicly held shares of subsidiary Next Level Communications, a move that would give Motorola a stronger presence in the video-over-copper market. Motorola presently owns 74% of Next Level outstanding common stock. Under terms of the deal, Motorola said it will acquire the balance of Next Level’s stock at $1.04 per share, at a total of about $40 million. Since December 2000, Motorola has staked Next Level with more than $175 million in funding and another $30 million in financial guarantees. Meanwhile, Next Level chairman and CEO J. Michael Norris seemed to spurn Motorola’s advances, saying in a prepared statement, “Next Level has not been for sale.” Comcast has put in another order of the Arris C4 CMTS chassis, ponying up an unspecified number of dollars for 50 units. The C4, which currently supports as many as 16 downstreams and 128 upstreams per chassis, can be field-upgraded to DOCSIS 2.0, thereby doubling the number of downstreams and raising the upstreams to 192. (Thus far, Terayon Communication Systems’ BW 3500 is the only CMTS to be qualified for DOCSIS 2.0.) Comcast has already deployed the C4 in its Royal Oak, Mich., system. Arris is also participating in the MSO’s forthcoming VoIP deployment in Philadelphia, supplying the C4 and its Touchstone eMTAs (embedded multimedia terminal adapters).