Founded in 1993 and launched in 1995 with market tests in Elmira NY, Del Mar CA and Portland ME, Roadrunner was a pioneer of mass market residential broadband Internet access. The Roadrunner founding team defined the end-to-end architecture for one of the very first hybrid-fiber broadband access networks, and included Dr. Mario Vecchi, Howard Pfeffer, and Christopher Rust. Tom Staniec and many others were instrumental to the realization of Roadrunner for Time Warner Cable.
When the conceptualization phase for Roadrunner began the cable TV infrastructure was purpose-built for one-way broadcast delivery of analog TV over coaxial cable. Key building blocks such as the “cable modem” were embryonic. Innovation was required at each layer of the protocol stack: selection of physical layer modulation scheme; definition of spectrum allocation plan for the coax transmission channel; creation of a new media access control layer to support concurrent bi-directional transmission of up and downstream traffic; content routing; subscriber management; end-to-end service provisioning, etc. An inspired effort by a talented and committed team was needed to have all of the pieces converge. By 2015 Roadrunner was available to over 66 million people across 29 states, making it the 2nd largest provider of cable broadband in the US. In 2012 Roadrunner was re-branded as Time Warner Cable Internet. In April 2016 Charter Communications acquired Time Warner Cable for $78.7 billion, creating one of the US’s largest broadband Internet service providers with over 17 million subscribers.