Oh Canada! Comcast Business heads north with managed broadband in hand

Comcast Business is provisioning managed broadband services in Canada by partnering with iTel Networks. (Pixabay)

For the first time, Comcast Business has extended its broadband and network management capabilities into parts of Canada via a partnership with iTel Networks.

Comcast Business is serving its U.S.-based Fortune 1000 customers with managed broadband services at their Canadian branch offices by working with iTel Networks. Comcast Business' managed broadband service offers its enterprise customers a single service provider contact to oversee their order management, installs, account management and billing for on-net and off-net locations.

On the flip side, iTel is providing Canadian companies similar services south of the Canadian border, according to the company's website.

“Our Enterprise Solutions team has uncovered a wealth of opportunities for Comcast Business to deliver services outside the U.S. Many of our existing enterprise customers and prospects have locations outside the United States; in particular, in Canada,” said Glenn Katz, senior vice president and general manager, Comcast Business Enterprise Solutions.

In an email to FierceTelecom, Katz said that iTel has wholesale relationships with all of the major Canadian carriers and cable companies, such as Shaw Communications, Rogers Communications and Bell South, as well as more than 40 smaller telecom providers in Canada.

Comcast Business is offering DOCSIS 3.1, DSL and Ethernet services via its partnership with iTel. The broadband speeds are up to 300 Mbps down while the Ethernet speeds can go up to 1G or more, according to Katz.

Katz said that Comcast Business was working with iTel to offer the same services in Canada that it offers in the U.S., including managed router, unified security management, business continuity using 4G, WiFi, and VoIP.

"We do not have a set time frame for this, but are targeting Q1 2020," Katz said.

Comcast Business enterprise customers have access to a customer portal that will include information on all their services with Comcast Business regardless of the underlying provider, according to Katz.

Currently, Comcast Business doesn't need a network-to-network interface (NNI) to provision its services with iTel, but Katz said that iTel does have a Layer 2 network with NNIs in Canada with several providers for a full Layer 2 wide area Ethernet (WAE) network in Canada "if required."

By providing managed broadband services, Comcast Business' distributed enterprise customers don't have to spend time and resources managing their day-to-day network needs.

The partnership with iTel is yet another way for Comcast Business to leverage its broadband services. In Comcast's second quarter earnings that were released in July, the cable operator announced it added 209,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter, which beat analysts' projections of 208,000 net adds. Broadband residential revenue increased 9.4% while business services revenue that relies on Comcast's connectivity pipes increased 9.8%.

RELATED: At SCTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo, Comcast's Werner and Zelesko talk virtualization, culture and the edge

Comcast is actively virtualizing its core network functions and its access network to build the best possible broadband network for its business and residential customers.

"Broadband is fundamental, whether you're talking residential or business services," said Comcast CTO Matt Zelekso earlier this month at SCTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo in New Orleans. "Our broadband service is at the core of what we do, and so, we're going to continue to invest in virtualizing that. I think business services may lead the way in terms of the need for capacity today, but as we project forward, I think we see residential having the same type of demand for very flexible, very reliable and high-performance networking."

In the same interview at Expo, Comcast Cable's Tony Werner said the same technology and product group that powers the company's residential services are the same technologists that develop applications and services for Comcast Business.

"We get great efficiencies, great effectiveness, and incredible reuse of core assets, including the network as we do it," said said Werner, president, technology, product, Xperience organization at Comcast Cable. "So I think that's going great."