By BUILDER Magazine Staff

Consumers who balk at the price of a home network may get some help. So says Ubicom, a Mountain View, Calif., networking company. In a paper entitled "Free Home Networking--Coming Soon" (available at, the company predicts that cable, DSL, and other broadband providers will underwrite networks to lock-in customers. "Once the consumer depends on a portfolio of services [offered by that company], that consumer will not want those services interrupted by switching to an alternative broadband provider." The paper, which deals with existing homes, envisions scenario where the provider supplies a central server that uses existing wiring. And while it makes no prediction about new housing, if its prediction about fierce competition between service providers is right, builders may have leverage to cut deals.