Cable Operators

Comcast, Charter Bid for Midsize Biz

6/28/2011 10:01 AM Eastern

On business services, Comcast and Charter
Communications both want to get thicker around the
middle.

Both MSOs are trying to win more midsize business customers
away from incumbent telephone
companies with enhanced
Ethernet-based network-services
offerings. They’re following in the
footsteps of operators such as Cox
Communications and Cablevision
Systems, which have been catering
to larger commercial customers for
several years.

Comcast, for one, until now has
largely focused on small and homebased
business customers.

20-MARKET UPGRADE

The nation’s top MSO is going upmarket,
with an expanded portfolio
of Metro Ethernet services
available in about 20 U.S. markets.
Comcast’s services are aimed at
businesses with 20 to 500 employees,
positioned as replacements
for telco technologies such as T-1 and Frame Relay lines.

“Metro Ethernet is quickly overtaking T-1 and other legacy
services as the preferred technology for business communications,”
Comcast Business Services president Bill
Stemper said in launching the services in May.

To offer the services, Comcast has deployed Cisco Systems’
Aggregation Services Router 9000 (ASR 9000) series,
as well as Juniper’s T Series Core Routers, MX Series Universal
Edge Routers and EX Series Ethernet Switches in
different markets.

The customer-premises equipment is Ciena’s LE-311v
service-delivery switch, which then connects to either
Cisco or Juniper aggregation and switching gear.

Comcast is logically trying to move up the businessservices
food chain, Current Analysis principal analyst
Cindy Whelan said.

“It’s a little early to say if they’re going to be successful,
but I think they’re well-positioned,” she said. “Comcast
has nowhere to go but up.”

To be even more competitive in the mid-tier, it will have
to offer voice services as well, she added.

Comcast Metro Ethernet comprises four services:
point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, multipoint-tomultipoint
and dedicated Internet
access. Comcast offers the services
with bandwidth from 1 Megabit per
second up to 10 Gigabits per second
and can be scaled in increments of
1 Mbps, 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps or 1
Gbps.

CHARTER ADDS LONG HAUL

Charter Business, meanwhile, has
offered Optical Ethernet to midsize
customers for several years
and is extending that with a longhaul
Ethernet service.

The long-haul service extends
the reach of Optical Ethernet service
beyond a metro area, allowing
enterprise and carrier customers
to connect multiple business locations
regardless of distance inside
Charter’s network footprint. The
MSO is also offering a secure virtual private network service
and touts 300 Gbps of backbone capacity.

The long-haul service “enables medium-size to large
companies with multiple sites to seamlessly integrate their
networks into a single [wide-area network], via either at
Layer 2 or Layer 3,” Charter Business product management
director Scott Fairchild said.

September
October