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.

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