Comcast's Contingent purchase enhances its multi-site enterprise business installation process

Comcast Business (NASDAQ: CMCSA) finally made its official entry into the large business space with new division called Comcast Enterprise, but its acquisition of Contingent is the secret weapon that will assist that division in fulfilling on-net and off-net site service requests.

While it did not formally announce its acquisition of Contingent, the addition of the company into its large business fold is important as it brings a set of expertise that can play into the more complex nature of larger Fortune 1000 business customers.  

Contingent has a part of its business that focuses on deploying IT services nationwide. They perform the installation of forms of electronic equipment from point of sale, Wi-Fi, routers, switches, inside the branch locations of Fortune 1000 companies.

It can also conduct inside wiring and electrical work as needed inside the specific branch locations.

Another area where Contingent will come in handy for Comcast Business is in fulfilling off-net business locations. Complementing its suite of enterprise solutions is Contingent's myriad business partnerships.

"One of the other aspects Contingent brings to the table is they have aggregation or wholesale relationships with many other CLECs, ILECs, small cable providers -- over 60 or 70 or those," said Glenn Katz, VP and general at Comcast Business Enterprise Services, in an interview with FierceInstaller. "With that piece and our agreements with large MSOs we can fulfill a nationwide deployment of broadband infrastructure."

For its own part, Comcast Enterprise itself will also leverage NNI (network to network interconnection) wholesale agreements with a number of other cable MSOs including Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and Mediacom.

"As I am new to this industry, I find the cooperation between the cable companies is fantastic, both operationally and technically because we don't really compete against each other," Katz said. "I think that gives us an advantage over the telcos, but those guys are really good and will continue to be really strong in this space even as they move strategically to the mobile size."

Having these off-net relationships with fellow cable operators in hand with a division that can perform necessary installation and coordination with other service providers means that Comcast Business will be able to more effectively respond to large business orders.

As it penetrates and installs services at more off-net locations, Contingent will have to assist Comcast Business in managing the end-to-end connection and ensuring service level agreements (SLAs) are met.

"As they go nationwide it means they are going off-net and so those partnerships, whether they are with cable operators or other service providers, Ethernet CE 2.0 will help, but they have to establish business relationships and the issue of how to manage those services end-to-end," said Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group, in an interview with FierceInstaller. "Predominantly it would be focused on the fiber and who can manage the service because it's on their network, which is an advantage when you have those off-net locations. But you have to consider SLAs and network management on top of that."

Cochran added that Contigent services should provide Comcast Business with some additional skillsets to manage and carry out off-net provisioning, but the question comes down to scale.

"There should be some synergies with having a group that is able to come in and manage that kind of deployment that covers multiple providers or requires different kinds of equipment, but scaling that is very different because it is more specialized," Cochran said. "That's a different kind of market than having do you want 100 Mbps Ethernet to one or two locations."

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