Comcast Business challenges FairPoint by deepening New Hampshire, Vermont Ethernet reach

Comcast Business (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is turning up the competitive heat on local incumbent telco FairPoint Communications by making its Ethernet service suite available to businesses in three New Hampshire and Vermont communities.

Delivering up to 10 Gbps of throughput, the service will be offered to local businesses, hospitals and schools that reside in Sullivan County, N.H., and Windsor County, Vt.

By completing this expansion, the communities in Claremont, N.H.; Windsor, Vt.; and West Windsor, Vt., will be able to access Comcast Business' four-pronged Ethernet suite: Ethernet Private Line, Ethernet Virtual Private Line, Ethernet Network Service and Ethernet Dedicated Internet.

Customers also have the option to scale in increments and choose from three different classes of service, backed by service level agreements and monitored 24x7x365 from Comcast's dedicated Network Operations Centers.

"It really positions us well because in many areas where we have multi-location customers that we have not been able to serve, but because they have wanted the capabilities we have they have waited for us," said Paul Savas, vice president of Comcast Business in New Hampshire and Vermont, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We're now able to have that and expansion into other areas where he have added service in Rutland county so coming over here with the new services we're offering in Sullivan County gives us the ability to serve those multi-location customers that are on our network in other parts of the state already." 

In making this expansion, one of the opportunities is that Comcast Business can immediately pursue is luring CLEC and local ILEC customers that have only been able to get access to slower speed T-1 circuits. 

"Some of the customers of the LEC or the CLECs as well are looking at delivery over T-1-based services in those locations, but now we can hit them with 1 Mbps all the way up to 10 Gbps in a variety of different fashions depending on how those networks are configured," Savas said. "Whether it's just point-to-point or multipoint-to-multipoint with an Ethernet Network Services network service, they have diversity of network service design that can best serve them."

Business customers within these new New Hampshire and Vermont that often are under contract with another service provider will sometimes begin working with Comcast Business to get route and carrier diversity.

Savas said that after proving themselves to be a viable redundancy option, they often become the dominant service provider source.

"Oftentimes if they are under contract with the LEC,  we'll pick up redundancy play whether it be route or carrier diversity so have not had a second provider that can bring them fiber that they want to have as redundancy, so we're that better redundancy option," Savas said. "Ultimately, we move up to that primary carrier position once they have already been with us because they see the superiority of the service."

This is the second recent expansion that Comcast Business has made in the northern New England region. In December, the service provider completed an extension of its fiber-based Ethernet services throughout five communities in Vermont's Bennington County.

Overall, these expansions illustrate how aggressive Comcast Business is being in the Ethernet service segment.

Its moves have gotten the attention of Vertical Systems Group, which noted that it was one of the fastest growing on the research firm's year-end 2014 U.S. Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard, taking a sixth-place position. If its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable goes through, Comcast would likely advance its Leaderboard position.

"Comcast moved up in the middle of the year in 2014," said Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "They were again the fastest growing overall on the Leaderboard by making a big push on Ethernet."

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Comcast Business deepens fiber-based Ethernet presence in Vermont
Comcast Business enhances customer reach to cloud, data center applications
Comcast Business threatens Verizon by expanding Ethernet, fiber presence in 10 New York communities
Comcast Business leverages fiber to boost broadband in Wash., Calif.

This article was updated on March. 15 with additional information from Comcast Business.