RealTime IT News

High-Speed Provider Gets Green Light

WideOpenWest LLC gained approval by city councils in St. Peters, Mo., Denver and Boulder, Colo., this week to begin its fiber optic rollout.

The company is a competitive local exchange carrier providing high-speed Internet access, voice over Internet protocol telephony, video on-demand and digital cable services.

WideOpenWest has spent the past nine months since its December, 1999, inception obtaining franchise access for cable services in several states in addition to building out its hybrid, 860Mhz capacity, fiber-coaxial data backbone. It plans on completing its rollout in Dallas, Denver, Houston, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Portland, Ore., by the end of 2006.

Fiber installation has already begun in Jefferson County, Aurora, Greenwood Village, Loveland and Commerce City in Colorado.

The company has been aggressively marketing its next-generation network, which includes cable television and high-speed cable Internet access.

Construction begins in Denver by December and is scheduled to take five to six years before it is completed. Officials expect the first customers to take advantage of the network in early 2001.

Tom Brown, St. Peters mayor, said the decision reflects his community's desire to take advantage of competitive services.

"This deal shows that St. Peters is a cutting-edge community that gets things done," Brown said. "Instead of accepeting a monopolized cable industry, we sought out competition and found it. WideOpenWest will provide residents with a great choice for entertainment and communication."

WideOpenWest has been touting its "open access" cable Internet services to competing ISPs. It believes cable companies should practice what it preaches and likewise open its cable network to competitors.

AT&T Corp. was a proponent of open access until its partnership with Excite@Home , a broadband cable access provider. AT&T's legal defense was part of the reason for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Portland, Ore., June 22, which reversed a lower court's finding that local municipalities had the authority to open up cable access to competition.