AP Engines ' AP InterLink open access platform is powering Time Warner Cable 's Ohio open access trial, which will give subscribers a choice of ISPs over its broadband pipes.

AP InterLink open access provides transparent interoperability between disparate companies, which allows Time Warner Cable to provide high-speed Internet access to multiple ISPs without disrupting existing operational support infrastructure, according to company executives.

"Time Warner recognizes that an incomplete or small-scale solution at this point would have caused a huge headache down the line, considering the 12.5 million subs they have," Jon Sieg, CEO and president of AP Engines, tells CEDaily. "This trial will prove it can scale quickly, move forward and be useful for decades. This application was built for the telecom world. The earlier applications came from financial communities and weren't built to address this market.

"This is the first fully automated open access trial. The trial includes mediation and collection of usage information that can be used in the future for billable events, like VOD. It is also good for settlement, where MSOs can charge different ISPs for the duration and time of use by their subscribers," says Sieg.

After a customer visits his local electronics super store and signs up for high-speed service available in his area, he purchases the equipment needed and installs it himself. By the time the customer plugs it in, the ISP of his choice has been notified of their new customer. AP InterLink lets Time Warner send customer orders to different ISP networks and then automatically activate that ISP's services. Time Warner will also launch AP Engines' usage mediation solution to track and accurately report on usage across the network.

"At a 300,000-plus subscribers, this is not a small trial. We brought together a total solution for them, a complete product aimed at this market. This develops an architecture that supports the existing systems, and they can be more open, redundant and reach across businesses. We thought about OSS integration from order entry through to billing, knowing it had to support millions of users, company wide deployment and still be scalable in 20 years,." says Sieg

Sieg says that the technology is not confined to broadband services. It could, for example, be extended to wireless PDAs. Sieg says it will be as simple as heading back to the electronics store, buying and flipping the PDA on, where screens appear asking the user to select an ISP. By the time they walk out, they're plugged in.