Broadband Vs. Disasters

8/22/2004 8:00 PM Eastern

Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner Business Services division is helping the Kansas City Office of Emergency Management keep a better eye on potential flooding situations through the use of its broadband plant.

It’s one of the more intriguing case studies Multichannel News came across in this special report on Commercial Services.

In May, the city’s OEM placed video cameras at key locations prone to flooding in the city. The infrared camera is Nightvision-equipped and built to operate in stormy weather.


The video images are carried via cable to Time Warner Cable’s headend, where they are stored on a server. Emergency Operations Center personnel use the operator’s high-speed Internet service to access and monitor the video images from their homes, 24 hours a day, or on monitors at the city’s EOC center.

“We’ve installed high-speed broadband connections in over 4,000 businesses,” said Steve Tulloh, vice president of commercial services for Road Runner Business Class. “But this particular program was special to us because of the creativity needed to implement the solution, as well as the potential for saving lies in the community.”


In Cincinnati, Time Warner Cable brought high-speed Internet connections to all 480 patient rooms at a local hospital. The move provides more than just Internet-surfing capabilities.

Time Warner Cable said that Tina Carkido, a high school senior, had to spend much of her last year in school at the hospital for treatment of cystic fibrosis. But she was able to keep in contact with teachers and classmates, via broadband, to keep up with her school work and her friends.

In Shawnee Mission, Kan., Time Warner Cable has linked the school district’s 53 schools that cover 72 square miles, offering high-speed Internet access, video and VoIP service via a one gigabit fiber optic pipe. It’s now the largest education project for the MSO nationwide, he said.

Charter has linked 12 school sites in the Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc., school district with a fiber-optic network capable of speeds up to 100 Megabits per second. Dedicated fiber lines run to each school. Charter uses an OC3 asynchronous transfer mode network.

Charter said Wisconsin Rapids was one of the first school districts in the state to get high-speed access, which helped the district save money by using centralized servers that decreased expensive site licenses.

In the Fox valley region of the state, Charter has built a 230-mile fiber network connecting 38 distance-learning sites, allowing students to take courses in Japanese, astronomy, animal sciences and dozens of other subjects only available through Charter’s broadband connection.

Charter also has generated business in the real estate sector. It’s linking 21 sites and 375 employees at First Weber Realtors in Madison. The high-speed connection allows agents to update listings and provide virtual house tour video for prospective homeowners.

Charter combined a multiple-dwelling unit/education deal in southern California, landing a five-year, six-digit revenue deal in January using plant that cost $20,000 to build. The company responded to an RFP from American Campus Communities, which was building a 132-unit, 480-bedroom property for Cal State University San Bernardino. The request covered video and high-speed data applications.

“It turns out that Charter was able to deliver a 10-Megabit Internet solution with little construction cost for the same price as a megabit solution proposed by a local telco provider,” said Charter Business senior account executive Christopher J. Higgins.

On the video side, “we gave them 82 channels, including two HBOs, at pricing similar to satellite, but the customer would have 24/7 onsite customer support and a single bill for these services.”

The hospitality business is growing sector for some companies, with Cox Business Services deploying high-speed Internet access to 20 of the 25 largest hotels in Las Vegas.

Most of those hotels have 1,200 to 1,500 rooms, enough that Cox, in many cases, has deployed dedicated cable-modem termination systems at each hotel.

In some convention hotels, simultaneous Internet usage can peak at 25% to 30%, said John Fountain, vice president, technology for Cox’s Hospitality Network in Las Vegas.


In four hotels, Cox has deployed Arris Group Inc.’s Cadant C3 CMTS, a pizza-box size unit, to handle hotel traffic. “These properties are so large, we have entire gateway and CMTS on the property,” Fountain said.

“We bring high-capacity circuits to edges of the hotel,” where billing gateways and CMTSs are installed, Fountain said. “They look like mini-headends.”

Hotels charge $9.99 for 24 hours of use. Cox generates revenue from both flat-fee business models and a share of the $9.99.

The C3 can operate 2,800 modems, and Las Vegas represents one of the most concentrated modems-per-CMTS ratios in the country, said Charles Little, director of broadband sales at Arris.


Cox hotel-systems integrator Becki Crue said the Arris gear was able to improve the performance of modems in the field by strong ingress noise cancellation. Many of the hotels Cox serves in Las Vegas were built 30 to 40 years ago, and the cable deployed at that time wasn’t built for data services.

The Arris C3 allowed Cox “to quadruple bandwidth on the upstream because of the ingress noise cancellation,” Crue said. “The signal to noise is much better, 6 db better,” Fountain said.

Crue added that the software in the C3 “allows us to look at the return spectrum without having to install a spectrum analyzer at the property. Our RF technician will come and look at the upstream, look at the attributes and see what’s wrong before he gets to property.”

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