EMPOWER Broadband to Accelerate Broadband Service To Americamps, River Ridge, and Tanglewood Communities
Will Utilize CWA Cable Assets for Internet Access, Digital TV Streaming Services
CWA Cable TV, Inc. has entered into an arrangement with EMPOWER Broadband, Inc. to accelerate the deployment of high-speed broadband services to consumers in Lake Gaston Americamps, River Ridge, and Tanglewood Shores. CWA President Cathy Ashworth says this fulfills a long- sought dream of her late husband, Winston Ashworth, to upgrade CWA’s cable network to bring broadband to their customers.
EMPOWER Broadband will invest approximately $1.5 million to convert the existing analog television system’s coaxial cable network into an industry standard fiber-fed broadband Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification 3.1 (DOCSIS) system offering access with the high-speed upload and download capabilities it offers elsewhere in the area. EMPOWER President and CEO John Lee said, “By converting CWA’s existing facilities, we will be able to radically accelerate broadband deployment to our Members in River Ridge, Americamps, and Tanglewood. This opportunity parallels a nationwide trend as coaxial-based high-speed broadband systems provide service to 69 percent of the U.S. internet market. This technology is also weather and terrain proof, and available system upgrades ensure its performance does not suffer as additional customers take advantage of this excellent broadband option.”
Mrs. Ashworth has run the cable TV system on her own since her husband passed away in 2003. Ashworth states “It was a tough go at times, but we had invested so much of ourselves in the business and in our community. Serving our friends and neighbors made it all worthwhile.”
Although the transition will cause some disruption and service gaps, CWA will continue to provide cable television service to the affected neighborhoods until EMPOWER is ready to make the transition on a “node by node” basis within each of the areas. At the conclusion of the transition, CWA will end operations as Ashworth moves on to the next chapter in life, enjoying a well-earned retirement. She will remain in the community and is grateful to CWA’s customers for their faithful support through the years. Additional information on the transition will be forthcoming from EMPOWER Broadband.
Television content, via streaming services, will then be available through broadband and EMPOWER Broadband will assist current CWA cable subscribers in accessing television content utilizing their high-speed internet service offerings. “EMPOWER subscribers are indicating that the many, many television options available through broadband such as Hulu or Pluto, which is free, are more than meeting their television needs and doing so at a cost savings as compared to their previous providers,” Lee indicated. “We are pleased that we’ve been able to acquire these coaxial assets and will be bringing service to these three communities that consist of over 2,000 residences, mitigating the many infrastructure challenges and a long deployment schedule if we were to install new fiber. We are confident that the residents there will be very pleased with the serious broadband horsepower provided by this technology,” he continued. “We have been working on this arrangement for some time and we appreciate Mrs. Ashworth’s willingness to assist us in bringing broadband to these communities much sooner.”
Long lead time equipment for the conversion has been ordered and manufacturers have indicated that those components will be available in December. EMPOWER has already executed a contract with a renowned cable development company who not only evaluated the system prior to the acquisition, but will also undertake the entire conversion and project upgrade, under EMPOWER’s direction. The conversion will begin in December when the head end equipment is slated to arrive, and it is anticipated that the project will take only three months to complete barring any major unexpected issues. “An additional advantage to this project is that it will allow EMPOWER to provide broadband service to these communities on a parallel path and not pull away any resources from other broadband projects currently underway,” Lee added.
EMPOWER’s Board of Directors Chairman, David Jones, remarks, “We hear the call and recognize the need for true high-speed internet in our rural areas. The opportunity to fast-track the delivery of service to so many homes is a game-changer for those communities. The timing and impact presented by this development allow us to overcome the hurdles of inadequate internet faced by families and students in these areas and EMPOWER is delivering this much-needed service.”
DOCSIS is an international telecommunications standard that permits the addition of high-bandwidth data transfer to existing cable facilities. In cases where existing coax cable is available, a DOCSIS network has the capability to provide the same speeds and capacity without the substantial time required to build out an end-to-end fiber solution in a medium that approaches the data capacity and transmission speeds readily available from fiber optics. DOCSIS is capable of delivering Internet access using a hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure model whose performance can hold its own with fiber systems.
A DOCSIS network is made up of fiber-fed distribution points that convert the fiber data into electrical signals that are then sent across the existing copper medium. Copper is capable of achieving high speeds over short distances, as it does in an office environment. The distribution points are placed close to homes in high-density areas where they are easily accessible to bring greater capacity into the neighborhood. Copper cables previously used for cable TV service are then utilized to connect the homes or businesses and data from the network is only traversing the copper network over short distances.
At the home, just like a fiber network, there is still a Network Interface Device (NID) connecting the existing copper cable network to your in-house wiring. Utilizing the existing wiring allows for easy placement of a cable modem/router inside the home or business. The in-house modem/router converts the signals into a usable stream of network data making an endless amount of digital traffic available to the end-users including high-quality digital TV, Internet traffic or even a crystal clear voice call.