Cable providers are making big plans for your LAN Perhaps the most scrutinized aspect of the cable-telco war is the battle for high-speed subscribers. In the U.S., cable providers have twice the number of broadband customers as their DSL rivals, a lead that won\u2019t likely evaporate anytime soon. Even so, DSL providers are fighting back with lower prices and service bundles. How are the cable guys looking to answer?One way is with the home network \u2014 offering the equipment, as well as installation and management services. Most cable providers have either trialed or implemented some form of home network service, and they\u2019re all talking to equipment providers about the equipment they can use to deploy these networks more easily.Among the large cable providers leading the charge are Cox, AOL Time Warner and Comcast. Today Cox offers a product and support package in several U.S. markets, with plans to expand to most markets by year-end, the company says. Cox offers wired and wireless equipment; the price for a technician to come out and connect two PCs with a wireless network is $299. While on the high side, Cox will likely adjust the price to reflect increasing competition as this market matures.\u00a0Time Warner\u2019s Road Runner home network service is also available in several markets. It costs $79 for a wireless two-PC network, $49 for wired, and includes a monthly management fee of $14.95 per month.Time Warner is providing residential gateways \u2014 not just modems \u2014 that use the new CableHome standard. Developed by Cable Labs, which also developed the DOCSIS cable modem standard, CableHome lets providers manage home network equipment remotely, allowing them to track usage and handle billing for additional broadband services that flow over that home network.But CableHome brings up a thorny issue. Do consumers really want their home networks managed by a service provider? Many are doing just fine buying routers from the local electronics store. Aren\u2019t these guys just looking to get their hands on a piece of the pie while getting a closer look at what you\u2019re using your home network for? Maybe. But many consumers who\u2019re new to home networks will gladly pay a service provider to handle it.\u00a0There\u2019s one last reason service providers are big on home networks \u2014 the belief they\u2019ll create more \u201csticky\u201d customers. Once you\u2019ve gone through the trouble of getting the network installed, you feel invested in the company. But as home networks become easier to install and tear down, expect the sticky factor to decline over time.Next week, DSL providers\u2019 home network plans.