RealTime IT News

WideOpenWest Calls for Open Access

WideOpenWest LLC Thursday called on cable companies to open up access to rival Internet service providers in the wake of its announcement Thursday to share cable access with Front Range Internet Inc.

The agreement allows Front Range Internet's 10,000 customers in the Denver metropolitan area take advantage of WideOpenWest's broadband fiber optic network.

WideOpenWest is a competitive local exchange carrier in Colorado and Texas providing high-speed Internet access, Internet telephony, video on-demand and digital cable services.

WideOpenWest has spent the past seven months obtaining franchise access for cable services in several states while it builds out its fiber-coax data backbone. It plans on completing the hybrid service rollout to Dallas, Houston, Denver, 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. Elections this fall will determine whether WideOpenWest is awarded cable franchises in Denver and Boulder.

Michael Steinkirchner, WideOpenWest public relations director, said unlimited broadband availability is the heart of issue.

According to Steinkirchner, local exchange carriers crowd between 500 to 1,000 on one node for high-speed connections. All those people on one node slow down connection speeds. He said WideOpenWest's network will have only 150 customers per node, guaranteeing fast, reliable connection.

Mark Haverkate, WideOpenWest president and chief executive officer, issued a challenge to all cable companies to open up access to their facilities.

"WideOpenWest has taken the industry lead on the issue of open access by building a new high-capacity residential fiber optic network that is open for use on a fair, non-discriminatory basis by any number of competing ISPs," Haverkate said. "This is in contrast to the closed access policy of the cable operator that requires users to first purchase the cable company's exclusive brand of Internet service."

WideOpenWest has gained the confidence of private investors. It recently secured $53 million to fund its open platform cable system rollout from Abry Broadcast Partners in Boston and Oakhill Capital Partners.