The business prospects for many segments of the electrical business may be sluggish at best for the foreseeable future. That's not the case with one potentially huge piece of business for electrical contractors: home networking.

The explosive growth in this market is based on homebuyers' demand for high-speed Web access; home entertainment systems; security systems; and other voice/data applications. Although new housing starts are expected to slow down some in 2002, it's still a healthy market — and one that will demand a ton of home networking products, when one takes into account the industry estimates that more than 200,000 new homes will be wired with a structured wiring system this year.

As you will see in the article that begins on page 10, many of the industry's largest players are positioning themselves for this market. Distributors like Graybar Electric Co., St. Louis, Rexel Inc., Dallas, Texas, and manufacturers including Leviton Manufacturing Co., Little Neck, N.Y.; Pass and Seymour, Syracuse, N.Y.; and Square D, Palatine, Ill., have recently announced major additions to the packages of products or services that they sell to this market.