Glenn Calafati, director of product development for Optimum Lightpath, explains what sets the award-winning business services team apart from the competition
: Director of Product Development, Optical IP-based Services, Optimum Lightpath

Broadband Background: Calafati is responsible for the research and development of Optimum Lightpath’s Optical IP-based Services. Previously, he served as Optimum Lightpath’s chief engineer and led in the early development and adoption of an Optimum Lightpath’s IP Service Architecture, which included HFC and Video Transport over Metro Ethernet peering initiatives. He has been a major proponent for MEF standards and Metro Ethernet private line services and currently represents Optimum Lightpath on both MEF Technical and Marketing committees.

Optimum Lightpath was recently named Regional Carrier Ethernet Service Provider of the year by the Metro Ethernet Forum. You were at Expo when this was announced; what was going through your mind when you found out about the award?

When I first found out, it was through a text message from our executive team at NXTcomm. I was elated by the news, as everyone on the Optimum Lightpath team works very hard at making sure that we exceed the expectations of our customers and provide leading-edge products and services. It was an immediate validation of all of our efforts.

This is the second time that Optimum Lightpath has won an award from MEF; what sets Optimum Lightpath apart from the competition?

We develop and provide innovative data, voice and video solutions that simplify telecommunications delivery and optimize business performance. We own and manage an intelligent, carrier grade network truly built for enterprise business. It’s the only 100 percent fiber-optic business network designed for high capacity, reliable, secure information delivery and management. Most importantly, at Optimum Lightpath, the customer is No. 1 in everything we do. Kudos to the Optimum Lightpath team because they are truly what set us apart from the competition.

Optimum Lightpath was the first cable operator to join MEF in 2006. Can you explain how your company saw the early opportunities in this space?

Early on, we determined that the market would see the unique value and benefits of services and products delivered over a Metro Ethernet network. On a daily basis, this is validated in the marketplace as we continue to experience significant growth. We recognized the need for equipment manufacturers and service providers to have a consistent and simplified approach and a common language to describe the products and services offered by a Metro Ethernet network. Our early adoption and development of services emphasized the need for industry standardization. We also recognized that standardization would ensure that vendor proprietary hardware and software would not limit our ability to meet market needs.

You were at the Metro Ethernet Forum training day at Expo; what did you come away with from the sessions there? What do cable operators and vendors need to do better in order to compete with carrier Ethernet services?

The sessions truly validated the cable community’s interest in MEF activities. As a whole, the cable industry has a unique opportunity because its digital services foundation is based on Ethernet transport of IP. Ethernet systems have been diligently providing interoffice and access connectivity for the MSO community for years. The cable industry will compete aggressively by leveraging this experience and the vast footprint that has been in operation for many years.

Among the 11 service providers to garner MEF 14 certification, there were four cable operators – Time Warner Cable, Cablevision’s Optimum Lightpath, RCN and NTL Telewest. How important was it for cable operators to gain certification at the same time as telcos such as AT&T and Verizon?

Certification provides validation that the industry as a whole understands and accepts the way in which you deliver your Ethernet-based services. Adoption by the cable community is vital to keep a strong competitive presence in the market. As more and more MSOs join the MEF and achieve service certification, the greater the reach the cable community has to service small, medium and large business customers.

What’s next for carrier Ethernet, MEF and Optimum Lightpath?

The service provider Holy Grail is ubiquitous service delivery and the ability to provide highly reliable services at lower cost. Carrier Ethernet has lived up to that promise for Optimum Lightpath and has validated this vision. We expect our future to continue to stay focused on the evolution of advanced products that are easy to understand with simple price structures.

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