Adelphia Taps BigBand for Simulcasts

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BigBand Networks Inc. announced last week deployments with Adelphia Communications Corp. for the company's voice-over-Internet protocol and digital simulcast product line.

Adelphia is using BigBand's digital simulcast platform in Los Angeles, as well as its Cuda cable-modem termination systems and FastFlow broadband provisioning manager for VoIP tests.

Adelphia is rolling out digital simulcast to L.A. in phases, given the complexity of the system and the market. To start, the MSO has 150 different public, educational and government (PEG) channels for various localities that must be digitally encoded.

“We're starting with a group of channels,” which include about 28 to 30 local TV stations and PEG channels, said Adelphia vice president of advanced video engineering and product development Doug Ike.

Adelphia is pulling signals from various spots to two locations, for redundancy. From there, a BigBand Broadband Media Router will ship them out across the cable plant using Gigabit Ethernet.

As Adelphia adds cable networks to the simulcast, digital ads will have to be spliced in at hub locations.

“BigBand is aggregating the digital channels for distribution on the backbone,” said Ike.

Adelphia added to its portfolio of BigBand gear in Los Angeles to handle simulcasting, Ike said.

YEAR-END GOAL

Ike hopes to have all analog channels delivered digitally in L.A. by the end of the year. That will require from six to eight 6-MHz channels.

“We need to say we are all-digital,” Ike said.

Meanwhile, the MSO is in the final testing stages for VoIP.

“We're just getting ready to launch,” said vice president of data engineering operations Tom Buttermore. “Everything seems to be coming together in the next month or two.”

Several market launches expected this year, he said.

Adelphia plans to use Nortel Networks Inc. for switches and system integration. Sigma Systems and SupportSoft lend software support, along with BigBand's fastFlow provisioning manager. BigBand is Adelphia's primary CMTS vendor, he added.

Adelphia has benefited from the early work of cable's VoIP pioneers.

BUILDING ON PAST EFFORTS

“Certainly a ton of work had been done,” Buttermore said. “We do have a hybrid approach. We basically run PacketCable compliant architecture from the call management server to multimedia terminal adapter. From Level 3, it's a pure [session initiation protocol] infrastructure. … The economics are absolutely phenomenal from our perspective.”

It's BigBand's first announced deployment for digital simulcast, although the technology has been launched in the majority of the top 10 MSOs, said BigBand vice president of strategic marketing Seth Kenvin.

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