CableLabs hopes to improve its Go2Broadband project with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Go2Broadband is the CableLabs’ system that collects data from MSOs about the location of their plant. CableLabs then uses that data to help recommendation companies line customers up with the best service providers for their geographic region.
“It (Go2Broadband) has been running since 2000 and is extremely successful,” said David Agranoff, senior software engineer with CableLabs, who presented at the Second Annual GIS Broadband Workshop in Denver yesterday. Besides online sites that give provider recommendations to consumers, Agranoff said retailers such as BestBuy and Walmart use Go2Broadband’s information to help customers find a service provider.
Go2Broadband has been using the U.S. Postal Service’s Zip+4 system to organize its MSO data. “It’s fairly accurate, but there are a lot of problems with it,” said Agranoff.
He said the Zip+4 data doesn’t work very well with apartment buildings, and there are areas not covered adequately such as greenfield developments and tourist towns. The Go2Broadband architects at CableLabs are hoping that the MSOs implement GIS into their databases and make that available to CableLabs, which can act as a neutral party to share sensitive footprint data.
“We’re kind of at the mercy of the cable operators to implement it themselves,” said Agranoff. But he’s optimistic that operators are starting to move forward with GIS. “Last year at this conference it was more ‘how are we going to get the buy-in?’”
At yesterday’s conference, Stephen Baker, manager network inventory at Cox, said the operator has been developing a GIS system for four years and is almost ready to implement it. Baker presents today at the GIS Broadband Workshop.
CableLabs wants to use GIS to beef up its database for other opportunities besides just residential. “One is business or commercial services,” said Agranoff. “All the cable operators are getting into this. We’re looking to provide a Go2Broadband for the commercial sector.”