ResoDirect is a leader of the broadband revolution
Smith, Robert F
ResoDirect is a South Burlington based company that has a tremendous need for high-speed broadband access. Established in 1982, ResoDirect (formerly known as Resolution) manages order, distribution, media and information for hundreds of companies that include CBS News, MTV, VH-1, A&E, the History Channel, the New York Times and ABC News.
If an announcer on TV suggest you call an 800 number or use the Internet to order a video or some other product, there’s a good chance ResoDirect is handling it. It has a converged call center accepting orders 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and bicoastal distribution centers.
William Schubart is the company chairman and CEO, and David Usher – a man Schubart refers to as a “visionary” – workers with him. Both men had definite ideas about Vermont and the broadband revolution.
“We use a lot of bandwidth, and we get huge bursts of usage,” Schubart said. “You an imagine what happens tous whenCBS says ‘Call this toll-free number.”
Usher defines broadband as starting at the T-1’s 1.5 megabits per second, and ResoDirect has eight of them to smoothly handle the company’s huge daily spikes of activity.
“We handle 3,000 ato 5,000 transactions a day, and it’s the telecommunitcations system that allows that to happen,” Schubart said. “I am fully satisfied that the core business communities are being wired pretty thoroughly, and I think broadband will be built out to meet the needs of a lot of busineses. But it will be built out more slowly in some areas. If you are a world class commodities trader in Swanton, well, I’m not so sure. That last mile bandwidth is a whole different discussion.”
Usher agreed, noting that broadband will be extended to anyone who wants it, but at a price. He felt that for most homes and small businesses, cable would likely provide the highest capacity at the best prices, followed by the telephone companies.
“The access companies are going to provide it where it’s most economically viable,” Usher said. “Distance costs money when you’re dealing with broadband. In a rural state, it costs money to push broadband to areas just on speculation. What you’re seeing now is the migration, the evolution, of broadband deeper and deeper into the network as the demand grows.”
Schubart said that, more that the question of high-speed access, it was Vermont’s regulatory environment that was a challenge to businesses moving into the state.
“If we’re going to compete globally, we’re going to have to attract serious investment in our telecommunications infrastructure. You can’t have a developing economy, banks, that sort of thing, without an advance telecommunications system.”
He said the next frontier for broadband would be wireless access, which brought in the issue of how difficult it is to put up towers in Vermont.
“It’s not so much that Vermont has a negative regulatory environment as much as it’s a quixotic one,” Schubart said. “When making long-term investments pay back, you need toknow tht game is not going to change in the middle. People in Vermont are not going to be able to hate towers and then demand wireless networks. You can’t have it both ways.”
He noted that Europe is full of discreetly located wireless towers, and that wireles receptions is “infinitely better” there than in the US. Vermont’s 3.6 percent telecommunications tax is also an issue Schubart would like to see addressed.
“If you view telecommujnications as a growth industry, then you don’t want to tax it,” he said. “You don’t tax what you want to grow, you tax what you want to dissuade. Tax me for dumping stuff in a landfill.”
As to whether it is a myth that Vermont will provide th high-speed telecommunications access necessary for it to become both a great place to live and a great place to work,d Usher was definitive.
“It’s not a myth,” he said, “it is a fact in process. It’s happening as we speak, and getting closser everyday, From Resolution’s point of view, there’s no access we can’t get here from some company in South Burlington.”
Copyright Boutin-McQuiston, Inc. Jul 01, 2000
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