Up to 1,000 Times Faster Voice, Video & Data Connection Is Turned On Today In Northern California Residential Development
Competisys Corporation, an integrated utilities company based in Irvine, Calif., announced today the “lighting” of its HomeStream system at Poppy Meadows, a Schuler Homes development located in the Northern California city of American Canyon. The HomeStream system is the first in the country to provide a broadband system that integrates telephone, video (digital television and other video products) and high-speed Internet services over a Gigabit Ethernet, direct fiber-optic connection into the home — a connection that is up to 1,000 times the performance of most current broadband alternatives.
The speed of these broadband alternatives — cable modems and DSL connections — is inherently limited and causes a severe bottleneck in the “first mile.” These limitations are based on either one or a combination of the following: the delivery system itself (copper or coaxial cable); the amount of users on the system; or, the distance of the user from the provider’s central office (CO). In contrast, due to the direct fiber connection, HomeStream’s speed and capacity is virtually unlimited and only restricted by the current technologies available to power the fiber system.
On the surface, the HomeStream system isn’t radically different. Turn on the TV and there are channels to watch, pick up the phone and there’s a dial tone, turn on the computer and there’s an Internet connection. But, look closer and the differences that a direct fiber connection creates, become apparent. The differences are imbedded in the system itself — the performance that’s available and how it’s managed.
In today’s world, any Internet connection that’s faster than a 56k dial-up is considered broadband. Alternatively, HomeStream’s performance is capable of delivering up to 1 Gigabit of capacity (more than 600 T1 lines), is full-duplex (up and downstream bandwidth is equal), and is dedicated to each user (no sharing with neighbors or distance limitations).
The fiber connection also enables HomeStream to be the first to deliver true video-on-demand, allowing customers to bypass the trip to the video store, sold out movies or late fees. The selections are from a variety of popular and new release movies, broadcast in DVD, surround sound quality. Additional features include personal video recording (PVR), parental control mechanisms, bill pay/preview, and web and email access. In addition, all television functions are controlled through the television’s onscreen user guide.
HomeStream is also the first system that allows users to reap the benefits of an IP phone system (business class features, low long distance calling rates and clear connections) while using their standard phone. Until now, this type of system could only be used with an expensive, business-type phone. Customers can also instantly change their phone service — as well as all HomeStream services — through a secure site on the community portal without a call to a customer service representative. For instance, if a customer wishes to add a phone line, they would go to the portal, enter their ID and password, check the add a phone line box, indicate where in the house the new phone line should ring and press enter. In a matter of seconds the system verifies the addition and the new phone line is automatically added in the home.
The delivery of broadband technology is often compared to a fat pipe. “At Competisys, we think of traditional broadband service as a garden hose and HomeStream’s broadband service as a fire hose,” said Bill Prentice, chief executive officer at Competisys. “This tremendous increase in bandwidth allows us to bring a giant pipe directly to the customer.”The giant pipe is then segmented into smaller pipes, or service channels. These sections create multiple Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) out of the 1000 Megabits of bandwidth, with each VLAN dedicated to a specific HomeStream service. Data is then transferred across the VLAN using Internet Protocol language and delivered into the home via fiber-optic cables.
“IP was the ideal choice for the HomeStream system,” said Lance Shoemaker, vice president of network solutions at Competisys. “It’s basically a self-healing system when it comes to fiber cuts. The data is routed around any outages, so it doesn’t get stranded. What you end up with is an extremely reliable system.”
The Competisys team has been working on the HomeStream system for nearly two years and has incorporated top network hardware and software products into their system, including Extreme Networks, Inc., Minerva Networks, Inc., Syndeo Corporation, Nuera Communications, Inc. and World Wide Packets.
“A few years ago the Department of Defense chose Extreme Networks for the resiliency of their equipment,” said Shoemaker. “When tested in the field against various routers, the Extreme system had zero packet loss when it was fully configured for multicast traffic for a sustained period of time. That’s what we’re seeking for HomeStream — perfection.”
To deliver “next-generation entertainment,” Competisys has partnered with Minerva Networks, Inc. “Minerva has a turn-key system that creates a complete solution for delivery of IP multicasting and video-on-demand content over a broadband network,” said Shoemaker. “Not to mention that they set the standard in Hollywood for media encoding.”
“Minerva is the leading provider of next generation video delivery systems over IP networks,” says Patrick Sweeney, vice president of marketing at Minerva Networks. “By utilizing our end-to-end solution, Competisys is able to provide innovative video services to their fiber-based communities. Our scalable IP television solution is ideal for service providers who want to grow their broadband video entertainment offerings and enhance their revenue opportunities.”
For the IP-based telephone system, Competisys chose Syndeo Corporation and Nuera Communications. “Syndeo provides a Class 5/Local Exchange softswitch and service platform for VoIP,” said Shoemaker. “Nuera, given the size of the traffic patterns, provides HomeStream with a midlevel gateway. It’s the smart choice for deploying local exchange service and it tests well in the field.”
Bringing the HomeStream system together is the World Wide Packets solutions which enables the up to a Gigabit Ethernet connection to every subscriber. Unlike any other IP-based system, World Wide Packets’ solution allows the use of standard telephones. “The use of a standard telephone was something very important to us,” said Dan Baker, vice president of marketing at Competisys. “As great as our broadband system is, customers don’t want to buy special items to use it, like an IP phone. They want increased speed and services with no additional costs. Because of World Wide Packets we are able to give our customers what they want.”
Basic telephone service starts at $10.69 per month, per line with long distance calling rates as low as five cents per minute. Television services range from the basic service which includes 76 channels for $29.95 per month, to $76.95 per month for the premium service (110 channels, and 37 digital music channels) and all 41 movie channels (HBO, ShowTime, CineMax, Encore, Starz, The Movie Channel). The monthly rate for high-speed Internet connection starts at $79.95 per month for a 1 Megabit connection, but when combined with phone service including unlimited local toll calling, call waiting, caller ID, and call waiting ID, and the premium television services, the total monthly fee for the packaged service is $114.95.
Competisys Corporation integrates energy and direct-fiber optic broadband solutions for new residential and commercial properties, as well as cities, by providing telephone, television, Internet, gas, and electric services. Services include the formation, financing, installation, operation and management of new utility distribution systems, and the procurement and “rebundling” of competitive utility services. Developers and cities are provided with a utilities solution that reduces system installation costs and enhances property value through a comprehensive technology package. Customers are supplied with cutting-edge technology, reliable service, and excellent customer care at competitive rates. Competisys, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., is a privately held corporation founded in 1996 by William Prentice. For more information, visit the Competisys Web site at www.competisys.com or call 877.417.2800.
About Extreme Networks
Extreme Networks, Inc. delivers a simplified approach for building networks based on its corporate vision of Ethernet Everywhere> networks. The Company’s family of BlackDiamond>, Alpineb, and Summit> switching solutions incorporate a unique combination of ExtremeWare> management software and an ASIC-based common architecture to provide Global 2000 enterprises, telecommunications companies, Internet Service Providers and content providers with the ability to increase the flow of information and accommodate future network growth.
Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., Extreme Networks was listed as the “Fastest Growing Company in Silicon Valley” based on three-year revenue growth by the San Jose and Silicon Valley Business Journal. For more information, visit www.extremenetworks.com
About Minerva Networks, Inc.
Minerva Networks, Inc. is a leading provider of carrier-class video networking solutions that enable the delivery of broadcast-quality interactive television and video services over broadband IP networks. Our IP Television management software, media encoders, and media gateways combine to form complete IP Television Headends for the delivery of video services over broadband IP networks. Broadband network operators worldwide use Minerva Networks’ products and services to deliver next-generation entertainment, communication and e-commerce applications. Minerva Networks is headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, and is available on the Internet at www.minervanetworks.com.
About Nuera Communications, Inc.
Nuera Communications, Inc. is a top-rated provider of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) infrastructure solutions that work over any medium (cable, wireless, copper and fiber). The company’s Open, Reliable Communications Architecture (ORCA>) product portfolio helps carriers worldwide migrate from legacy networks to next-generation VoIP networks.
Nuera continually wins awards for its superior products and services and is respected throughout the industry for driving the adoption of interoperability and open, standards-based platforms. For more information, please visit www.nuera.com or call 1-800-YO-NUERA.
About Schuler Homes
Schuler Homes Inc. designs, builds and markets single-family residences, townhomes and condominiums primarily to entry-level and first and second-time move-up buyers in strong Western suburban markets. The company is among the top fifteen builders in the country and is one of the largest builders in California and among the top three builders in Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington with a growing presence in Arizona.
About Syndeo Corporation
Syndeo Corporation was formed in 1999 to help broadband local-loop carriers better manage, differentiate and profit from service offerings as they move to next-generation converged voice-over-IP (VoIP) and voice-over-ATM (VoATM) networks. The company’s Syion 426 Local Exchange Platform replaces Class 5 switch functionality from the traditional PSTN, combining Class 5 features with robust unified messaging and a carrier-grade softswitch platform that scales to millions of subscribers. Services can be delivered to any phone or IP-enabled terminal, including “softphones,” IP phones, PCs (through Netscape, Microsoft Outlook or NetMeeting) and PDAs.
Syndeo is privately held and has raised $23 million in funding from Redpoint Ventures, Brentwood Venture Capital and Thomas Weisel Partners. The company gained ISO 9001 Quality System Standard certification in March 2000.For more information, call 408-861-1000 or visit Syndeo’s web site at http://www.syndeocorp.com.
About World Wide Packets
World Wide Packets is the premier solutions provider for optical broadband connectivity. The company designs, develops and manufactures optical access network solutions that are expected to revolutionize entertainment, e-busies, founder of Packet Engines, Grand Junction Networks and Tidewater Associates. For more information on World Wide Packets, please visit our Web site at www.worldwidepackets.com.