Comcast Business Services (Nasdaq: CMCSA) on Friday achieved the Metro Ethernet Forum's Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) certification for its E-Line and E-LAN services, becoming the first CE 2.0 service provider, according to MEF President Nan Chen.
Since Comcast is an insurgent Ethernet provider, gaining the CE 2.0 certification gives the cable operator a way to distinguish itself to not only its established SMB customer base, but also more importantly to its medium-sized clients that will require Ethernet connectivity at multiple sites.
With CE 2.0, the MEF has designed new specifications to ensure Class of Service (CoS), service manageability and interoperability for service providers addressing off-net Ethernet customer installations outside of their traditional network footprints. During its Q1 2013 meeting in San Diego held in January, the MEF announced that 20 vendors now offer CE 2.0-certified compatible products.
Iometrix, the MEF's test lab, certified Comcast's Business Class Ethernet Private Line and Business Class Ethernet Virtual Private Line as CE 2.0 E-Line services and the company's Business Class Ethernet Network Service as a CE 2.0 E-LAN service. In May 2011, the cable MSO launched the suite of business class services over its IP-based fiber network in 20 U.S. markets. It has augmented its service reach by using Ethernet over Coax (EoC).
Having the CE 2.0 certification in hand increases Comcast's ability to compete with the host of ILECs and traditional CLECs that have been building out their Ethernet footprints via their own fiber networks and renting RBOC facilities to deliver Ethernet over Copper (EoC).
The cable MSO has already achieved all of the previous CE 1.0 certifications, including MEF 9, 14 and 18. It has also had representatives on the MEF Board of Directors since 2008, a seat currently held by Karen Schmidt, executive director of Enterprise Product Marketing at Comcast Business Services.
Building on the assets purchased from Chicago-based Cimco in 2009, Comcast recently launched an expansion of its fiber network and upped its staff in Chicago in an effort to attract new business customers to its Ethernet, telephone and video services.
To ensure consistent service delivery, all of Comcast's Ethernet network vendors' products, including Ciena's (Nasdaq: CIEN), have been CE 2.0 certified.
Despite being a bit later to the Ethernet game than its MSO brethren Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Comcast has quickly established itself as a threatening player in the business services market.
As reported in FierceCable, business services, particularly Ethernet and wireless backhaul, were major revenue drivers in Comcast's Q4 2012 results, rising 34.2 percent to $660 million.
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