Cablevision of Boston and RCN-BecoCom have recently begun competing in cable television service offerings. In each of the companies' franchise agreements, the City obtained commitments for some type of institutional network capability. The City of Boston recently finished the renewal of the franchise of Cablevision of Boston, the incumbent franchisee, and issued a new franchise to RCN-BecoCom.
Boston was ranked seventh in Yahoo Life's 1998 ranking of Most Wired Cities and fifth in the 1999 rankings.
The "Shared System"
I-Net Under the 1982 Cablevision of Boston Franchise Agreement:
The City obtained an I-Net from Cablevision of Boston in its original franchise agreement with Cablevision of Boston in 1982. The I-Net consisted of channel capacity on the company's RF system. The network served 15 municipal buildings and provided video feeds to the City's public access studios and schools. The agencies included the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Public Works Department, Boston Housing Authority, the Persons with Disabilities Office, Elderly Commission, Boston Schools, Community Centers, Public Facilities Department, Boston Police, and the Public Health Commission.
Free Cable Modem
Service Under the 1997 Renewal
Under the City's recently-renewed franchise agreement, Cablevision agreed to provide free cable modem service (instead of the prior I-Net), sufficient for the development of virtual private networks, for the City and schools, libraries, plus $1 million in funding to implement the service.
under the RCN franchise:
Perhaps more significanly, the City is also obtaining additional I-Net facilities from RCN-BecoCom. RCN has started offering phone, cable television and Internet services over a fiber optic system as an Open Video System provider. The I-Net will consist of several strands of dedicated fiber within RCN's fiber sheath, spanning about 900 miles. The I-Net will serve 300 to 400 facilities, which include municipal offices, fire and police, schools and libraries and community centers.
Information about the costs of the networks was not made available. The director of the city’s office of cable communications said he doesn't expect to see the costs reflected in customers' bills.
Additional background information: