Israeli multimedia service startup

BigBand Networks

plans to hold another private placement in the second quarter of 2001. BigBand hopes to recruit cable communications carriers and equipment companies to help commercialize its broadband multimedia services.

BigBand's communications solutions upgrade the advanced multimedia capabilities of broadband networks operators. The company's flagship product is a broadband multimedia router that can simultaneously handle video, audio and data transmissions.

BigBand CEO Amir Bassan-Askenazi says that service providers compete to provide Internet, telephony, television, and service-on-demand. Providers are faced with the challenge of providing combined services over infrastructure designed to transmit just data services, or, as in the case of cable communications operators, to transmit analog video files.

To overcome this obstacle, BigBand has developed a router that enables service providers to provide a range of media services over a single network to a variety of end-products.

BigBand's technology is undergoing beta-phase trials at 11 cable network companies, including at the American company

Cox Communications

(NYSE:COX) and the Canadian company Rogers Cable, a fully owned subsidiary of the

Rogers Communications

group (NYSE:RG).

BigBand is expected to post its first sales in the second half of 2001, but the sales breakthrough is expected only in 2002.

Writing a paper with Cisco

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The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers

commissioned BigBand to co-author with American communications giant

Cisco Systems

(Nasdaq:CSCO) a paper on the Multimedia-service Architecture for Optimal Delivery of On-Demand Services over Cable Networks.

BigBand CTO and co-founder Ran Oz presented the paper on January 9, at the SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies, held in New Orleans, Louisiana for 1,000 delegates from cable companies worldwide. Oz says that existing cable infrastructure has the basic capability to support advanced services on demand. But there are several hurdles that prevent the provision of new interactive services to the general public.

Providing these services is contingent on upgrading infrastructure to support a range of applications, media, broadcasts, subscriber profiles, and a range of end-equipment. BigBand's multimedia router can do this.

Raz clarifies that Cisco and BigBand won't be allying, but competing in BigBand's target market.

BigBand was established in 1999. The company employs 130 people at Fremont, California, Tel Aviv and London. Its R&D is done in Israel.

The company raised $30 million in August 2000. Investors included

Redpoint Ventures


Evergreen Canada Israel Investments

, American fund Pilot House, and the Cedar fund.