Cablevision looks at using airplanes equipped with lasers to identify buildings

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) is studying ways to use airplanes equipped with lasers to identify buildings within its service area, and the height of their rooftops, according to a recent patent application.

Cablevision patent

Click here for a larger view. (Source: Cablevision / USPTO)

The MSO, which has invested in wireless technology such as WiFi to combat Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and other rivals, says that it could improve its wireless infrastructure if it is able to have access to detailed information about the height of buildings in its service area. "Being able to efficiently identify building unit rooftops, including their height and location, is a critical determination for the deployment of wireless communications services," Cablevision states in the patent application, which was published in late December by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Cablevision would rely LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) data collected by airplanes equipped with lasers, remote systems or vehicular-mounted systems, according to the patent application. The company said that it may also be able to use radar and 3D photography to collect more information about the height of building rooftops.

In addition to building an extensive WiFi network in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, Cablevision is one of the biggest owners of MVDDS (multichannel video data distribution services) spectrum. The company operates an MVDDS system in Florida called OMGFAST which uses microwave transmitters installed on building rooftops and communications towers to deliver broadband Internet speeds of up to 50 Mbps.

The technology in the patent application could help with the deployment of MVDDS services and DBS (direct broadcast satellite) services, according to Cablevision. "The use of the present invention is not limited to MVDDS services, but can be used for any application requiring the identification of rooftops," Cablevision writes in the patent application.

In October, Cablevision agreed to sell 45 MVDDS licenses to Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) for $80 million. That agreement was related to the settlement of a breach-of-contract dispute between Dish and Cablevision over the Voom HD satellite service.

Officials at Cablevision didn't respond to a request for comment about the patent application.

For more:
- see the patent application

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