The business-services divisions of some MSOs might have taken a back seat to their residential online brethren, who've been plowing ahead with strong modem growth rates. But cable is still gaining market share in the small to midsized business sector.
Time Warner Cable's San Diego system has rolled out new multi-tenant building access technology from Viadux, which has helped the operator increase its penetration in several office complexes.
The Viadux system is built around its 8000 Broadband Gateway, which can operate in layer-two and layer-three transport modes, including Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, T1, Ethernet and frame relay.
The gateway can dynamically and symmetrically manage and distribute bandwidth at high speeds over copper-pair wiring, including plain old telephone service lines.
Viadux's AnyPair technology enables operators to deliver signals over in-use voice lines, even if a free pair of lines isn't available inside a building.
Cable operators can deliver data and voice through its broadband gateway, targeting small and midsized business customers.
Typically, the Viadux gateway would sit in the basement of an office building. The gateway can handle 32 customers who each want 2.3 Megabits per second of bandwidth. The unit costs about $3,000, but pricing drops when bought in volume.
Viadux executives said the box can handle input from various technologies, including coaxial cable, fiber and T1 lines, or even fixed-wireless drops. Cable operators that haven't built out their last-mile plant to an office park or a local business district could use such technologies to connect to office buildings.
The vendor also manufactures a 2000-level box that serves as an extension device from the base 8000 device. The 2000 has been designed to serve tenants inside a main building. As a base unit, the 8000 controls and provisions data to other units.
"It provides a quick turnaround for installing each tenant in an environment where there's a lot of short-term occupancy," said Phillipe Heller, an account executive for Time Warner Cable's Road Runner Business Class Service.
Time Warner Cable in San Diego rolled out the Viadux gateway in two 60-office suites in Mission Valley and La Jolla using T1 access, and is enjoying a 42 percent rate of penetration.
"Duration of tenancy varies, so we have to be able to quickly turn service on and off as the situation requires in each suite," Heller said.
Time Warner Cable leases the T1 line from SBC Communications Inc. and extends it from the MSO's data provisioning point of presence to the building in Mission Valley. Inside the building, a short T1 link connects the network interface unit with the Viadux 8000 gateway. Signals are transmitted in frame relay format, using symmetric digital subscriber line modulation.
Time Warner Cable offers the same access rates to all tenants. The MSO charges a monthly bulk-rate fee.
The MSO offers basic business service at $79.95 a month at 2 Mbps downstream and 384 Kbps upstream. A top tier offers twice that downstream rate and one-and-a-half times the upstream rate of T1 for $899.95 a month.