FierceTelecom Leaders: Dave Pistacchio, President of Optimum Lightpath

Dave Pistacchio may only have been named President of Cablevision's business services subsidiary Optimum Lightpath at the end of May, but the 15-year Cablevision veteran says the new position really is just a continuation of his work in transitioning the company to become a provider of Ethernet and IP-based services. Pistacchio says Optimum Lightpath under his leadership will continue to focus on providing these services to vertical market segments including financial, government, and health care. FierceTelecom recently caught up with Pistacchio to talk about the outlook for the company and the challenges of doing business in an economic downturn.

FierceTelecom: Dave, although you have been with Cablevision and Optimum Lightpath collectively for over 15 years, you recently took the reigns as Optimum Lightpath's president. Tell us about your first few months on the job.

: Well, the first month on the job is much like the last four years on the job in that I am focused on continuing to drive the business and innovation. The position is much more of a title promotion. In 2005, we made the transition to Ethernet, and we've been driving Ethernet and Ethernet-based products aggressively ever since. It continues to be a challenging marketplace and we continue to be successful in driving Ethernet and helping our customers leverage the technology to power their business. It's very much more of the same. 

FierceTelecom: Okay, with five years under your belt at Optimum Lightpath, what are your goals for the rest of 2009 and 2010?

Pistacchio: Well, certainly Ethernet is at the core of our strategy and we'll continue to drive that. More and more, we're working with partners and our customers to enable applications over the Ethernet platform. I think you have heard of our relationship with GetWellNetwork, which is a health care application to improve the clinical outcome for health care providers. We're looking at other applications including a managed voice hosting product and we also have a managed video transport product.

In healthcare, financial and the general enterprise space, we're looking at what are the applications that enable our customers to do more for less by leveraging the Ethernet network. The Ethernet network provides them with clear transparency from site to site unlike legacy technologies. They are able to consolidate infrastructure and run applications much more efficiently.   

FierceTelecom: Staying on the Ethernet topic, Optimum Lightpath saw Ethernet revenue increase 48 percent over last year's first quarter. What drove that growth?

Pistacchio: I think there are a few things. Clearly, the benefits Ethernet can bring versus TDM are its efficiency, scalability, reliability and the usage it enables. A lot of CIOs are faced with the reduced budgets to make their data centers more efficient and Ethernet is a great solution for that. Additionally, there are a lot more sales of larger bandwidth units. When we first started in 2005, there were a handful of GigE sales, but now GigE has become the new 10 Mbps. We're selling lots and lots of GigE and selling lots of high-end optical services. I think there's a lot of high-end bandwidth requirements in Ethernet which is driving some of that growth. That again is due to customers needing to do things like consolidate infrastructure and run applications that they previously had to have multiple copies of.

Click here for Part 2 of Pistacchio's interview