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Comcast Business carries the load for PBS Coals

Fri, 05/03/2013 - 12:56pm

Comcast Business’ Ethernet services are doing the heavy lifting for PBS Coals, which is the fourth-largest coal producer in Pennsylvania.

PBS Coals’ business model requires constant updating and transferring of files to maintain the accuracy of its mining operations, and to provide a safe working environment for its 650 employees that are spread across Somerset County.

In order to serve PBS Coals, Comcast Business extended its fiber network to the company’s 10 mining and processing facilities located across Somerset County. The fiber build has also provided an additional benefit for other area businesses that now have access to a high-capacity network.

Founded in 1963, PBS Coals y produces 3.3 million metric tonnes of raw coal for the electric power industry regionally and for the steel industry internationally. Nearly all of the company’s day-to-day business activities are dependent on 3D maps, which can be up to 3 gigabytes in size and must be constantly updated using AutoCAD software to reflect the most accurate information on miner locations, drilling depths, and safety hazards. As a result, each engineering team is faced with transferring ever-changing files on a daily basis, which requires a sizable chunk of bandwidth.

“Our engineering team spans two buildings, and with our previous T1 connection, transferring and editing our maps could take hours,” said Joe Cabala, IT manager for PBS Coals. “We looked at multiple providers to determine who could extend their fiber network to our location and offer us the speed, scalability and bandwidth we needed, and Comcast was the only one able to meet our expectations.”

With the slow transfers on the T1 connection, PBS Coals employees resorted to driving to the different locations with thumb drives loaded with new files in order to expedite the process.

Since fiber networks didn’t previously exist in this area, Comcast Business installed a 300 Megabit per second (Mbps) Ethernet Private Line  (EPL) in Friedens, Pa., that now runs between PBS Coals’ headquarters and its nearby operations building to support the energy company’s high-bandwidth needs. Comcast also deployed a 500 Mbps Ethernet Dedicated Internet (EDI) at headquarters as well, which allows employees to access the PBS Coals network from other connected locations while also improving online communication with its Russia-based parent company, Severstal.

“Being able to provide local businesses with a reliable connection to both their data and employees – whether they happen to be sitting next to each other, down the street, or underground in a coal mine – is one of the many advantages that high-bandwidth services like Ethernet can offer,” said Glenn Lytle, vice president of Comcast Business in the Keystone Region. “Our customers span a wide array of industries, ranging from power and energy to education, healthcare and government, but the scalability and speed that we are able to offer is something that can be unanimously beneficial to them all.”

In its first quarter earnings report on Wednesday, Comcast reported a 27 percent increase in its business services revenue.

Comcast first launched its Ethernet portfolio in 2011 as a means to expand into the medium-sized business sector. 

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