How to find a telecommunications provider that meets your needs Featured

9:01pm EDT September 30, 2011
How to find a telecommunications provider that meets your needs

For 30 years, Crawford Media Services, Inc. has offered premium post-production services and media management solutions to domestic and international clients. Turnkey solutions for television, film, interactive media and digital archival are only a few of the company’s specialties.

In January, the company moved to a new 80,000-square-foot facility with eight 3D-capable editing and graphic suites, a 40-seat Dolby-certified theater for screening, mixing and color correction, as well as several state-of-the-art editing and audio facilities. While the facility allowed the company to stay at the cutting edge of its field, it required more from its telecommunication provider.

“For our business to thrive in its new location, we needed a high-speed, high-capacity fiber optic connection that would allow us to work efficiently with large files and a provider that had the communications backbone to support the tremendous amount of data we process on a daily basis,” says Matthew Kraft, CIO of Crawford Media Services, Inc. “And we needed a diverse network for redundancy, because preventing downtime was one of our largest concerns. It was a tall order.”

Smart Business spoke with Kraft about how his company found a solution that worked.

What were the challenges that Crawford Media was facing?

The main challenge we were facing was that we needed a provider that could meet our increasing technology needs. We had recently separated from our parent company, and we were moving into a new building. Our business requires a large amount of bandwidth, and it depends on reliable high-speed Internet access, so having the right technology in place is crucial for the business’s success. So, we were looking for a service provider that was not only robust in terms of coverage, but was able to deliver us Ethernet private lines, which is a core of our business in the metropolitan Atlanta area, at a very cost-effective and consistent price point. The provider we were looking for would have to check not only those two boxes, but also would build in redundant and diverse paths into our environment to prevent downtime, because downtime is the enemy of our business.

How did Comcast Business Class help address those needs?

Comcast Business Class was ideal in that they delivered on all three of our business needs with their Ethernet Private Line solution, and that is why we selected them as a service provider. They built out our fiber infrastructure and gave us access to multiple high-speed, high-capacity 10 Gbps lines, and provided us with very strong coverage in the metropolitan Atlanta area for our Ethernet private line circuits.

The diversity of their network infrastructure also provided the redundancy we were looking for in a carrier.

How did those particular changes help make running your business better?

We were moving into a new facility, so it was crucial to the success of our present and future business that we build out a strong connectivity base to move files around. That’s important because the backend operation of our business is the ability to do that. That’s where Comcast Business Class’ Ethernet Private Line solution was key. We basically built a new facility and made Comcast Business Class the centerpiece of that from a fiber delivery perspective.

Why are strong coverage and limited downtime important factors to consider?

We have the need for strong coverage because we serve data center clients in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Because of security reasons, we have to have private Ethernet lines to them. Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) connections, even with Layer 2 VPN architecture, are usually insufficient. We have a need to move large files to our clients, and Comcast Business Class has very strong Ethernet coverage. That was another important deciding factor.

We operate a data center business in addition to a post production business. Downtime costs us money because it costs our clients money. There is a lot of competition in the post-production business, so if you have a reputation of being down often and not being able to deliver files and content and you have directors and producers sitting around waiting for files, then people are not going to want to work with you.

In all aspects of our business, downtime is death. That is why we selected a provider that could meet strong service guarantees and had the backbone to do so.

How did you determine the right solution?

I met with enterprise account executives at Comcast Business Class and other providers and told them what I needed: diverse paths that are independently operated from multiple head nodes, protected fiber build out, and X amount of initial capacity.

So we priced the solution out, factored the solution into what I needed and we built it out over the course of several months.

How long did the build-out process take, and what were the steps involved?

We started the conversation and discussions at a regional level, then those discussions moved up to the corporate level. It took about two or three months to finalize the agreement and it took about another 60 to 90 days to finalize the build out. So, all told, it was a six- or seven-month process.

Matthew Kraft is CIO of Crawford Media Services, Inc. Reach him at (678) 536-4874 or mkraft@mail.crawford.com.