Insight Communications Co. Inc. signed up High Speed Access
Corp. last week to support delivery of Road Runner Internet services to 85,000 subscribers
in the Columbus, Ohio, area.
The agreement, which was expected, calls for HSA to provide
sales, installation, provisioning, local content and tier-one customer care for the New
York-based MSO's broadband Internet customers.
HSA sales and customer-care employees will integrate
billing for Internet service with Insight's billing system. And HSA will develop
local Web content and handle advertising sales in coordination with Road Runner.
Insight chose Road Runner in the Columbus area because the
service already has about 25,000 Time Warner Cable customers to its credit in the city.
But the MSO, which deploys the Excite@Home Corp. service elsewhere, wanted a turnkey
provider to save the expense of creating a new billing system that would only serve one
Gregg Graff, Insight's senior vice president and
general manager in Columbus, said in a news release that HSA "is developing the
industry's highest standards for quality of service."
For HSA, the deal represents an opportunity to branch out
from its usual "exurban" markets and into bigger territories.
HSA president and chief operating officer Dan O'Brien
said the company has been building up to serving new customer bases. It made a move along
those lines in October, reaching a deal with NorthPoint Communications Inc. to offer
digital-subscriber-line service to buildings and homes not passed by cable. O'Brien
said he expected HSA to have its first DSL customers within weeks.
"We've created a much more flexible plan,"
O'Brien said. For one thing, HSA doesn't worry about its brand name being
plastered over customers' computer screens as long as those customers get the
information they want, he added. The company wants to work with cable operators on how to
brand their own product.
HSA currently does business with 42 MSOs, and it hopes to
expand on those relationships while looking at the possibility of doing other deals
through leased lines. "We've been having substantive meetings with
operators," O'Brien said. "We all have room to improve."
As of Sept. 30, the latest figures reported, HSA had 90
systems with 2.8 million homes passed under contract, and it served more than 10,000
cable-modem subscribers. The company has said it is deploying about five new systems per
In the Columbus deal, HSA was probably aided by the fact
that it has a pre-existing agreement with Road Runner in which Road Runner can get HSA
stock warrants by delivering homes to HSA.
This deal was done separately by HSA and Insight, though,
so Road Runner would not get warrants for it, an HSA spokeswoman said.