Transition Dims Modems for 7K N.J. Subs


About 7,000 high-speed cable-modem customers in New Jersey saw their service
temporarily go dark as their cable service changed hands from RCN Corp. to
Patriot Media and Communications.

Patriot, backed by Spectrum Equity Investors and cable entrepreneur Steve
Simmons, bought the central New Jersey system serving some 80,000 data and video
customers from RCN late last year.

At midnight Thursday, Patriot started transitioning over the data customers
to its own backbone and network, according to Jim Holanda, Patriot's president
and general manager. That included changing over provisioning, e-mail and
billing systems.

In the process, about 7,000 served by a one-way Data Over Cable Service
Interface Specification system lost service because of a problem with the
dynamic-host-control-protocol setting in the system's data router, Holanda said.
Technicians were able to bring them back on line by 2:15 p.m. Thursday.

Two other data-customer groups -- those on a one-way, non-DOCSIS system and
those on a two-way DOCSIS system -- made it through the transition with no
service interruptions.

All in all, that's not too surprising for Holanda, who previously worked for
Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. and was involved in migrations
involving the failed Excite@Home Corp. and High Speed Access Corp. services.

"It's pretty much right on par with those," he added.

Only about 20 percent of the former RCN data network is upgraded for two-way
DOCSIS service, so "we've got a lot of plant to upgrade," Holanda