Startup Company Profile #5: Cedar Point Communications

Cedar Point Communications is the sole surviving PacketCable softswitch start-up with meaningful traction among North American MSOs. That alone makes them of interest to gorillas looking to buy their way into key cable accounts.

Founded in September 2000 and headquartered in Derry, N.H., Cedar Point has raised $95 million through four funding rounds. Investors include Ascent Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Comcast Interactive Capital, Focus Ventures, JP Morgan Partners, Motorola Ventures and STAR Ventures. Cedar Point counts 184 employees and a solid MSO customer list, including Comcast, Charter Communications, Insight Communications, Buckeye Cablesystem, Bresnan, Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico, Omnivision in Argentina, and Cablemas in Mexico.

Cedar Point's product offering is the SAFARI C3, an integrated PacketCable platform that includes a NCS call management server, media gateway functionality, as well as record keeping server, announcement server, signaling gateway, Ethernet switching and CALEA server elements. Cedar Point says it can also support SIP-based voice services, providing a foundation for IMS integration.

Cedar Point's all-in-one box offers a compelling story on cost-effectiveness and operating simplicity, but only for right-sized cable system deployments. In many large systems, MSOs have architected their networks with distributed CMS and gateway functions.

While Alcatel has a PacketCable CMS it is selling in Europe, they have not pushed the product in North America. Snapping up Cedar Point could be a quick way to make a splash stateside, particularly with Comcast. That said, as an existing investor, and still without its own PacketCable CMS solution, Motorola is a possible buyer too. Particularly given its penchant for purchasing cable start-ups located within a stone's throw of Boston: RiverDelta Networks, Ucentric Systems and Broadbus.

    Start-up: Cedar Point Communications
    Innovation factor: 8 (out of 10)
    Likely Acquirers: Motorola
    Handicap: 3-1 odds on Motorola

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