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Saturday, September 30, 2006

9Cegetel EasyGate – Yet more innovation in France

9Cegetel have developed a product which is targeting the late adopters with broadband access ie the 50% of French households who do not have a PC.


Interestingly, the EasyGate is a hybrid device based upon OpenSource software: it has an Intel M600 CPU and chipset, with a Broadcom Router/ DSL chipset built in. Also it comes with 512MB of RAM and 512MB of Flash Memory (and therefore doesn’t have a hard disk). The OS is based upon Linux and all the layered software will be revealed soon as the source code will be published. There seems to be a full package of security software, browser and office productivity applications. Different user interfaces are provided depending upon the level of skill of the user. There seems to be sufficient I/O ports including 2 ethernet ports - one is aimed for the 9cegetel TV set-top box and the other for a PC.

The support package has been put together with more than a little thought at the target market with a Free Helpline, a remote management capability which allows 9cegetel to download upgrades, a pro-active fault diagnostics service and a 48hour replacement cycle for hardware faults.

The cost is €40/month which includes max. 8Mbps broadband and bundled fixed calls. Also, there is a €100 initial charge for the monitor, keyboard, mouse and webcam.

It will be interesting to see how many people adopt this PC/Broadband rental bundle and more importantly how long it takes for the model to spread to the UK. I expect Sky and the Mobile Companies who understand how the subsidy game is played will be looking on with interest.