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RealTime IT News

Cox Hastens Move Toward Self-Reliance

Cox Communications officials Wednesday said they are adding a bevy of routers to its cable network in a move to become self-reliant.

The company will deploy "hundreds" of Riverstone Networks Inc. routers throughout its 28 cable systems over the next several months in order to provide services currently handled by its cable Internet service provider (ISP) @Home arm.

The need for Cox to provide its own Internet service is one officials have acknowledged for nearly a year, as the growth of cable Internet subscriptions have skyrocketed around the country. Cox, a company with more than 779,000 residential Internet subscribers, has spent the year extricating itself from @Home, a joint venture with AT&T Broadband and Comcast Corp.

With roughly 550,000 Cox customers using @Home services today, the router purchase will get them into the Cox fold. Rumors of an impending shutdown at @Home have only hastened the timetable to get the routers up and running as soon as possible.

If @Home shut down Friday, as some reports have it, more than a half-million Cox@Home users would be stranded until the routers come "online." It's a worst-case scenario that has many cable users nervous.

Jay Rolls, Cox vice president of data engineering, said that it's just as important to get the right equipment on the Cox hybrid fiber optic/coaxial network as getting it in as soon as possible.

"This is a significant network deployment, and we are confident that Riverstone's products will allow us to gain additional capacity while enhancing our network availability," Rolls said. "In building our Cox- managed high-speed Internet service, it is important that we deploy highly reliable technologies that also allow us to transition toward emerging technologies, such as MPLS, RPR and 10 Gigabit Ethernet."

Riverstone's RS 3000 metro access routers, RS 38000 metro aggregation routers and RS 8000/8600 multi-service metro routers also pave the way for Cox to provide cable telephony services. The routers accommodate asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) and synchronous optical network (SONET) architectures.

Marian Stasney, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group, said Cox made a good decision when signing Riverstone to the multi-million dollar contract.

"With several significant wins under its belt -- including Korea Telecom, Dacom, Japan Telecom, Huchison Global Crossing and now Cox Communications -- Riverstone has demonstrated its abilities in the deployment, service and post-sales support of incumbent carriers," she said. "While Riverstone is well positioned from a technology standpoint, it has recognized that technology is but one component of delivering a solution to tier-one carriers. Strong pre- and post-sales service, operating efficiencies and a low cost-to-benefit ratio are crucial components in building a tier-one customer base."