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Summit County: New features & faster speeds coming for Comcast customers

DREW ANDERSENsummit daily news

A recent deal struck between cable company Comcast and the Colorado Department of Transportation will bring a bevy of new features and faster broadband Internet speeds to Comcast subscribers.Comcast will lease and maintain a fiber-optic network owned by CDOT that follows Interstate 70 from Golden to Vail. The network will allow Comcast to bring its latest cable technology to local subscribers by spring of 2011.”This is exactly what Comcast has been missing,” said Summit resident Gary Waterman. “A lot of people up here haven’t even seen what they’ve been missing.”Chief among the new features for Comcast subscribers will be Video On Demand, which allows subscribers to watch their favorite shows or movies at any time. Enhanced Digital Video Recorder features will allow customers to set up recordings via the Internet and to pause a show on one television and continue watching it on another. Two new subscription tiers will also be available, along with more high-definition channels, including several Spanish channels. Digital Voice will also be made available for the first time in Summit and Eagle counties. Digital voice is a phone system that operates via cable networks.Comcast spokeswoman Cindy Parsons said increased bandwidth and faster Internet speeds should result from the use of the fiber optic network.”Greater access to technology along the I-70 corridor will benefit all Coloradans,” said state Representative Christine Scanlan.As part of the deal, Comcast will service and maintain the fiber-optic network for CDOT, freeing up CDOT resources for other tasks, according to CDOT spokeswoman Stacey Stegman. The lease arrangement is expected to save CDOT $14.5 million over the 20-year length of the contract. The network was installed by CDOT six years ago at a cost of $17 million Stegman said. Other companies were given a chance to bid on the network, but Comcast was the only respondent.CDOT uses the lines for communication along the I-70 corridor for electronic signage, traffic camera surveillance, travel time detection and other functions of the organization’s Intelligent Transportation Systems. The portion of the network to be leased by Comcast was previously unused, and Stegman said CDOT communications would not be impacted by Comcast’s use of the network.SDN reporter Drew Andersen can be contacted at (970) 668-4633 or drewa@summitdaily.com.


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