Comcast Business wins 15-year agreement to build Philadelphia institutional network

Philadelphia stands to get a network that offers a fivefold increase in capacity over what is currently available.

Comcast Business won a multiyear agreement with its hometown of Philadelphia to build an Institutional Network (iNet) aimed at enhancing local business access to higher broadband speeds while reducing costs.

Philadelphia’s agreement with Comcast Business is for 15 years, a period concurrent with Comcast’s cable franchise agreement.  

The service provider said that network capacity for most locations will increase fivefold over what is currently available. 

RELATED: Comcast Business says enterprise group is making inroads with large health care, retail enterprise customers

Specifically, capacity to the internet to get access to the city’s cloud applications will increase by a factor of 20 times over the current network.

Enhancing bandwidth speeds

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will be able to double the aggregate bandwidth on the network connecting the city's facilities at no additional cost. 

Philadelphia is not paying any capital costs for the initial 200-plus sites, and future capital construction costs for any new sites will receive a subsidy which will increase over time. The amount of the subsidy may preclude capital costs in many cases.

Additionally, the city will be able to increase bandwidth on demand to accommodate special events, such as visits by dignitaries or the 2017 NFL draft. 

“Comcast Business will provide a much higher level of performance and be scalable over the long term, while saving the City significant costs,” said David Dombroski, regional vice president for Comcast Business, in a release.

Comcast said the agreement also provides ‘quality of life’ improvements for Philadelphia residents, including internet accounts for all the City’s recreation centers presently operating without internet services.  The City will be able to install Wi-Fi in all City facilities as well as Love Park, giving Philadelphia citizens Wi-Fi service inside all of its facilities.

Satisfying SMB, enterprise needs

By winning this large deal in Philadelphia, Comcast could have a conduit to potentially attract not only more small businesses, but even larger enterprises that have satellite offices in the city.

Other businesses located in the city could consider Comcast Business as a more serious alternative to traditional telco Verizon for Ethernet and next-gen voice services like SIP trunking.

The cable MSO has been making large fiber network expansions in various cities throughout its business service territory.

Besides Philadelphia, Comcast Business began a multimillion-dollar expansion of its fiber-based network across Montgomery County, Maryland, in October. Upon completing this build, Comcast will be able to make up to 100 Gbps of network capacity available to 5,800 local businesses, government agencies and hospitals.

While it still has a long runway of growth to be a major player in the larger business space, Comcast is slowly gaining share.

Neil Smit, CEO of Comcast Cable, told investors during the cable MSO’s third quarter earnings call that “we’re starting to see the enterprise side of the business starting to grow.”