Opportunity Calls

A Colorado-based Internet service provider, TW Telecom, took advantage of Tulsa’s downtown street construction and installed 4.5 miles of fiber conduit. Today, the company has fiber reaching 85 percent of businesses in the area.
The competitive fiber-optic network operator leased space in the conduit system as more than 50 blocks of downtown streets were ripped apart and repaved.
The company offers a diverse range of data, dedicated Internet access and voice services for large businesses in the health care, finance, higher education, manufacturing and the hospitality industries, said Bob Meldrum, vice president of corporate communications of the Littleton, Colo. company.
The company acquired xspedius.com two years ago and today serves 30,000 business customers in the Tulsa market. TW Telecom also serves the military, state and local government and clients in 75 markets across 30 states and Washington, D.C.
TW Telecom is in its quiet period, having just closed the books on the fourth quarter and the year, Meldrum said. But, the company achieved more than $1 billion revenues in 2007. Its third quarter results, announced Nov. 5, revealed revenues of $291.6 million and a net income $3.8 million.
Using Synchronous Optical NETwork, or SONET, technology, TW Telecom has built a “ring” in Tulsa. A characteristic of SONET is its ring topology. The concept includes the capability of the network to automatically detect the failure and re-route the signal traffic.
“We build everything in a ring,” said Brent Robinson, TW Telecom vice president and general manager. “If there is a break, our services are built on reverse electronics, which gives two paths between each point.”
The design means a reliable network. During the disastrous ice storm in December 2007, TW Telecom lost customers, but not due to a failure of its network.
“The only ones we did lose were ones where the building lost electrical service,” Robinson said. “We had eight hours of battery backup.”
TW Telecom began in 1993 as a joint venture with Time Warner Cable, now a unit of Time Warner Inc. Since 1997, the company has focused on a niche of business customers, including carriers and governmental entities. The company did expand from dedicated services into voice services, Internet and data. TW Telecom became a separate company in 1998 and in May 1999, issued an IPO to become Time Warner Telecom Inc.
One thing that sets TW Telecom apart is the ability to offer nationwide coverage to local customers, Meldrum said.
“We have a national network that delivers local services,” Meldrum said. “It can reach anywhere in the U.S., but the Internet connection is local. The signal does not have to travel some distance to hop on the backbone.”
TW Telecom weathered the telecom collapse 10 years ago and, in 2003, began investing in new markets.
“We build where there is opportunity,” Meldrum said. “TW Telecom has been built for times like the present.”
“We have an established business plan. Our focus has been disciplined. More than 60 percent of our revenues are over our own networks,” he said. “At the same time, we provide services the customer wants.”

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