Verizon Keeps RNC Connections
Network fiber, that is. And the good news is that much of the massive communications infrastructure put into place by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) for the RNC will stick around for more pedestrian uses later.
How much fiber was used? If counted strand by strand, Verizon installed about 40,000 miles of new fiber optic cabling in a loop between Madison Square Garden, site of the RNC, and Verizon's New York offices, according to Verizon project manager Karen Daidone.
Daidone says the phone company had two months to get the necessary infrastructure in place both at the Garden and across 8th Avenue at the Farley Post Office building, where many of the 15,000 journalists worked during the convention.
After gaining access to Madison Square Garden and the Farley building, Verizon installed as many as 320 broadband and 6,000 new dial-up connections. The site was fed with two redundant circuits, both capable of 156 Mbit/s, Diadone says.
Overhead was the name of the game during the convention, when only 8 percent to 9 percent of the available bandwidth was used at any one time, according to Verizon Internet Services manager Nathan Casassa.
Inside the Garden, 10 Mbit/s connections were scattered among the expo area, press boxes, and a “digital darkroom” where convention imagery was processed and transmitted. Verizon also provided one DS3 and one T1 line connecting the Republican National Committee’s private Intranet, where planners and speechwriters orchestrated every minute of the proceedings from offices beneath the convention floor.
The RNC was also Verizon's biggest video installation ever. HDTV and 45 Mbit/s circuits were used to serve broadcast media outlets at their trailers lined up along 33rd Street and 8th and 9th Avenues outside the Garden. Verizon spokesman Dan Diaz-Zapata says media outlets are buying increasingly larger circuits for remote coverage.
Verizon officials declined to comment on the total cost of the installation. The company also refused to say who foots the bill.
Besides keeping the RNC wired, the company kept an otherwise low profile at the convention; its name did not appear among those of the hundreds of corporate and special interest groups sponsoring events in New York last week.
Now that the RNC is over, Verizon plans to leave the telecom infrastructure in the Farley Post Office building intact, Daidone says. In a few months, the structure will be converted to New York’s new Penn Station. Presumably then, the city's daily commuters will enjoy more (working) TV monitors, improved phone coverage, and maybe an Internet terminal or two -- at least enough communications benefits to rebut those who say the political conventions these days are meaningless.
— Mark Sullivan, special to Light Reading