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Cobb County Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Improves Operations and Customer Service

Georgia-based Municipal Organization Using Ethernet Dedicated Internet and Ethernet Virtual Private Line to Deliver Scalable, High-Performance Connectivity to 34 Sites

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Situation

  • Metro Atlanta public service agency with 34 locations including parks, recreation facilities and senior centers
  • 400+ employees
  • Hundreds of thousands of residents served
Challenge
  • Painfully slow online registration process due to overburdened legacy network
  • Frustrated customers and staff members demanded more robust connection
Solution
  • Comcast Business Ethernet Dedicated Internet
  • Comcast Business Ethernet Virtual Private Line
Results
  • Scalable, high-performance Ethernet service over fiber and coax
  • Seamless online registration process
  • Improved internal communication and collaboration
  • Able to offer Wi-Fi services
Cobb County Recreation Department Services Hundreds of Thousands of Residents Annually

Cobb County is located just northwest of Atlanta and has a population of nearly 700,000. The county is named for Thomas Willis Cobb, a United States representative and senator from Georgia in 1832.

The Cobb County Parks and Recreation Department provides parks, arts, recreation and other services to its county residents. The organization manages over 34 locations including community centers, tennis facilities, recreational centers, parks, ball parks, golf courses and aquatic centers. It employs approximately 400 staff members and serves hundreds of thousands of residents each year.

Cobb County Employees Require Reliable Internet to Serve County Residents

To streamline registration for its recreation services, Cobb County had transitioned from paper to web-based registration across its facilities, but the 128 Kilobits per second (Kbps) DSL service it was using at the majority of its facilities to connect to the Internet was no longer providing sufficient capacity. In fact, spikes in traffic due to seasonal program sign-ups were frequently slowing the network. When residents tried to register online for soccer leagues, aquatic classes, continuing education classes, and more the connection was slow and could time out mid-sign up, making the registration process slow, painful and frustrating.

Additionally, Cobb County’s staff was regularly having trouble accessing business productivity applications through their PCs, which are hosted in the data center, and couldn’t log-on to get the information they needed to service customers, or even print out receipts. Cobb County management realized it was time to make a change.

“Sometimes the network was so slow during the registration process that it would actually stall and our customers would have to start all over again,” said Ed Biggs, Division Manager, Technical Operations/GIS Division, Cobb County Information Services Department. “It was very frustrating for our customers and our employees, and we got a lot of complaints.”

Comcast Business Ethernet Provides Scalable, High-Performance Service to support Cobb County's Operations and Registration

Cobb County began looking for a new service provider. After a formal review of various providers, they selected Comcast Business for its advanced service offerings, its extensive network footprint and competitive rates. Comcast Business replaced its DSL connections with a fiber-based 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) Ethernet Dedicated Internet (EDI) line into the Cobb County data center, which supports municipal operations throughout the entire county. It also deployed 8 Mbps Ethernet Virtual Private Line connections to 34 sites using Ethernet over Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC). Given that the sites are dispersed across the county’s 345 square miles, Cobb County expected the deployment to take a full year but, due to its extensive network footprint and detailed project management, Comcast Business completed it in only four months.

“We were really struggling with our online registration process and it was starting to impact our relationships with customers and with each other between locations and departments. But now with our new network everything is running smoothly,” said Biggs.

Now, Cobb County has a scalable Internet service to support routine network traffic, and the online program registration process is dramatically improved. County employees can simply sign into the system and get to work, rather than having to wait for registration services to load, or worse, time-out. The Comcast Business Ethernet service not only helps address customer frustrations it also strengthened relationships with Cobb County’s different facilities because it was easier to communicate. Further, Cobb County now has enough capacity to offer Wi-Fi access for employees and residents at its facilities, and they are exploring offering the service outdoors at parks and local stadiums. “That’s something we never could have even imagined before,” added Biggs.

“With Comcast Business we now have dedicated connectivity for multiple virtual connections and we have the ability to scale up to 10 Gigabits (Gbps) with one simple phone call. Now we are not only able expand our offerings to our customers and improve their experience, but our staff can perform their jobs better with improved operational efficiency.”

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