Network and Engineering
Meet Our Newest Broadband Users: The Eagles Have Hatched
The (baby) eagles have landed!
A little over two months after we began our Eagle Cam journey, two hatchlings have joined the proud, feathered parents whose lives we’ve shared through the coldest part of winter.
For the more than 878,000 of us in 190 countries around the world who have tuned into the live stream, the eagles of York County, PA have become members of the family. We’ve watched them dig out of snowdrifts, huddle for warmth and take turns guarding their precious clutch of eggs as the temperatures plummeted below freezing.
We’ve spent quite a lot of time with them. Those of us who tuned into the stream averaged more than 10 visits apiece (nearly 12 million sessions), and spent more than 4.7 million hours (or about 540 years) tuned in.
It’s all beyond what we ever could have expected when the Pennsylvania Game Commission came to Comcast Business with one of the oddest questions we’ve ever heard: "Can you wire a tree for broadband?"
We like to think we can wire just about anyone for broadband, and since the eagles’ tree fell squarely into our footprint, we set to work right away. We had to run about 400 feet of stout RG-11 coaxial cable (a heavy-duty version of what you may have in your home or business) from our plant into the woods where the eagles had nested.
We worked with Swam Electric to set up a small business modem in a small wooden enclosure, HDOnTap connected their server, and the Game Commission had the perilous job of placing the camera atop the tall, thin tree that the eagles call home.
The stream (and the 100Mbps connection that powers it) has been up and running ever since, providing decades worth of mesmerizing wildlife observation to all those who tuned in.
That the makeshift Internet movie studio we set up to film the eagles made it through the most brutal part of winter is somewhat miraculous in its own right. Modems built for installation in climate-controlled offices aren’t intended for use in the extreme cold of York County in February.
During the week of February 15, temperatures in York County dipped to -5 degrees, and never rose above freezing. But the technology, like the eagles, kept on going through the miserable weather in time to let us all witness a spring surprise.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to enjoy up to another three months of activity before they grow as big as their parents and fly off to build their own nests, and with any luck, spawn their own Eagle Cam spinoffs.