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City Connects 30 Sites for Data, Video, and Internet; Improves Service to Residents

Technology to support local government initiatives.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
Organization

  • Located in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area, the City of Hollywood has more than 140,000 residents.
Challenge
  • Replace a very slow T1-based communication system with a reliable networking solution that seamlessly and securely connects 30 city sites for data and video exchange and provides fast Internet access.
Solution Requirements
  • Performance: City workers must have quick and reliable access to computer-based applications to complete their daily jobs.
  • Security: The solution must enable the transfer of confidential city and resident data safely and securely.
  • Speed: It must provide the required bandwidth to handle increasing data traffic and streaming Internet video.
  • CScalability: The solution must accommodate the addition of new city sites to the network easily and efficiently.
Solution
  • Comcast Business Ethernet Network Service
  • CComcast Business Ethernet Dedicated Internet
Results
  • Improves employee productivity and service to city residents
  • Enables significant cost savings
  • Ensures reliability and scalability for future growth

The Business Challenge:
Like many cities in America, the City of Hollywood relies on a communications network for day-to-day operations. Unlike many cities in America, it launched a video network to serve city workers and residents long before other municipalities across the United States even considered the possibility. However, the City of Hollywood couldn’t realize this vision until it replaced T1 lines that stymied communications.

“Those T1 lines had limited bandwidth and were incredibly slow,” explained John Barletta, Director of IT and Communications Systems for the City of Hollywood. “It often took 15-20 minutes just to load an application. You could actually grab lunch in the time it took to access the application you needed. That’s when we began looking for alternative communications solutions.”

Barletta and his team talked to several vendors about building their own communications network but soon discovered that process was cost-prohibitive. “Building an actual network was way too costly, and maintaining it was costly as well,” he added.

Then the City of Hollywood met Comcast Business.

The Comcast Business Solutions:
Now the City of Hollywood relies on two customized Comcast solutions to power its communications infrastructure.

Comcast Business Ethernet Network Service provides seamless and secure connectivity for 30 city locations to exchange data and video at up to 1 gigabyte per second. This includes the police department, fire stations, the public safety department, city hall, and the community recreation center.

“A good example of our early foray into video transfer is the training videos our fire marshal creates and sends to each of the fire stations,” Barletta explained. “This makes the most of everyone’s time and maximizes taxpayer dollars.”

City workers aren’t the only ones who benefit from the Comcast Business Ethernet Network Service.

“We’ve extended the video network to residents as well,” Barletta explained. “They can watch city hall meetings from the comfort of their own homes and still remain involved in city issues that affect them.”

The Comcast Business Ethernet Network Service has saved the city money too.

“The network is so fast and reliable that city workers can access the applications they need almost instantaneously,” Barletta said. “Our public safety department decided to take this productivity improvement one step further by scanning all city data into a document management system, which has nearly eliminated paper records. Now we save approximately $70,000 each year in paper, filing, and retrieval costs.”

The City of Hollywood uses another Comcast solution to improve productivity: Comcast Business Ethernet Dedicated Internet provides seamless and highly scalable Internet connectivity.

“We use this Comcast solution to access WebEx meetings or online demonstrations for in-house training,” Barletta said. “When we begin to access more media-rich streaming video, I know I can easily add more bandwidth without the delays of ordering new circuits, upgrading capacity, or purchasing new equipment, which would have been the case if we had built and maintained our own network.”

The Results:
Improves employee productivity and service to city residents
Before partnering with Comcast, the City of Hollywood relied on T1 lines for citywide communication. Not only did city staff have to wait nearly 20 minutes for applications to load, they also had trouble accessing streaming video from the Internet because of bandwidth constraints.

With Comcast Business Ethernet Network Service and Comcast Business Ethernet Dedicated Internet, the city of Hollywood has improved staff productivity and improved customer service to residents.

Provides cost savings of more than $70,000 per year
The Comcast Business Ethernet Network Service has enabled the city’s public safety department to use an online document management system, which saves roughly $70,000 each year in paper, filing, and retrieval costs. In addition, the Comcast network supports four-digit dialing among city sites, savings thousands of dollars each year in telecommunications costs because fewer phone lines are needed.

Ensures reliability and scalability for future growth
Barletta said city workers have become so accustomed to the Comcast network’s reliability that they take it for granted. “We’ve gotten to the point where we don’t even think about the network because it is a sure thing,” he explained. “However, it’s also comforting to know that if we do have a problem I can call our local Comcast support team. They are always available when I need them.”

Barletta and his team also know adding new city sites is as easy as placing a phone call to the local Comcast team. “We’ve recently added parking garages to the network, but there’s more space if we need to add additional facilities,” he concluded.

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