RealTime IT News

Akamai Edges Onto RCN Network

"Edge" server company Akamai Technologies, Inc., announced the expansion of its nationwide footprint with another broadband service provider Thursday.

The caching company's deal with RCN Corp. marks its latest effort to efficiently distribute data-intensive files, like streaming audio/videos and flash advertisements, without bogging down the consumer's bandwidth connection.

Officials declined to comment on financial terms of the deal.

RCN, a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) based out of Princeton, NJ, has more than one million customers nationwide to its bundled telephone, copper-based and cable Internet services.

Content delivery networks (CDNs) like Akamai, Edgix and Digital Island Edge place their servers at collocation facilities where the carrier's network is located to cut down on the number of hops it takes to deliver its broadband message to end users.

These companies are eager to attach themselves to as many networks nationwide as they can to provide seamless and fast transmission of advertisements and bandwidth-intensive files like pay-for-view streaming concerts and dynamic Web sites.

It's a deal that benefits both sides, as network providers save themselves from possible bottlenecks caused by too many customers trying to download the same file, and caching companies can attract advertisers, Web site owners and entertainment clients to run content through its servers.

Providers have found they can make a lot of money allowing these caching servers to sit at the edge, but not on, its own network. The arrangement can even be built into business plans and considered a recurring revenue source.

Avi Freedman, Akamai chief network architect, said the agreement with RCN is an important step in its continued deployment of servers nationwide.

"With RCN owning the last mile connectivity to its end users, this deployment agreement enables Akamai to further position our servers at the edge for the high-quality delivery of broadband content," Freedman said. "RCN is an important, strategic partner for us given its high-capacity local fiber-optic networks targeting densely populated U.S. metropolitan areas."

RCN officials are expecting to sign similar deals with other leading edge server companies by the end of the year.

Akamai, one of the largest CDNs in the world, has server deals with many of the Internet's top Web sites, including Yahoo!, ON24, Oracle and many U.S. government portals.