Comcast Business challenges AT&T, Frontier in Tallahassee with 100G-capable fiber network

Utility van with the word "Comcast on the side"

Comcast Business is bringing its fiber network to Tallahassee, Florida, with the hopes of luring local businesses by offering Ethernet services that can scale to 100 Gbps, laying a greater challenge to incumbent players AT&T and Frontier Communications.

While Ethernet is clearly the lead product, Comcast Business will also offer its broader suite of internet, voice, TV and cloud-based services.

The cable MSO’s coincides with Tallahassee’s developing business climate. The city was ranked among the top 200 in the U.S. on the Forbes Magazine List for “Best Places for Businesses and Careers.”

What’s interesting about Comcast’s entry into this market is that they can become part of a business' disaster recovery plan, a concept that’s critical during Florida’s hurricane season, where storms can cause power outages or make office buildings inaccessible.

Since many of its target customers may still be on existing service contracts, Comcast Business is marketing its services as a redundant or second network link for business continuity and to provide file access, back-up and recovery in the event of a disaster.

This has been a tactic that Comcast Business has used in other markets in the Northeast.

After expanding its Ethernet service to three New Hampshire and Vermont communities Comcast has been luring CLEC and local ILEC customers that were only able to get access to slower speed T-1 circuits. Comcast Business has found that after they gain a business’ trust as a viable redundancy option, they often become the dominant service provider source. It’s likely the same thing will happen in Tallahassee.

Florida has been a key target for Comcast. The cable MSO has been delivering up to 10G Ethernet service to local Florida businesses since 2011.

Comcast Business’ growing presence in major markets like Florida also illustrates cable’s overall influence on the Ethernet market. Vertical Systems Group noted in its recent U.S. Ethernet Leaderboard report that 60 percent of new connections were delivered by CLECs and cable MSOs during the first half of 2016. For the full year, the U.S. Carrier Ethernet services grew at a 17 percent annualized growth rate.

Comcast has also been no less aggressive in Florida’s residential market. In 2015, the cable MSO began offering Gigabit Pro, a residential multi-gigabit broadband service for consumers in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Jacksonville areas. In April, Comcast announced that it will offer DOCSIS 3.1-powered gigabit internet service in the state using connections that are already in customers’ homes.

What will be interesting to see is how AT&T and Frontier will respond to Comcast’s growing presence. AT&T has not revealed Tallahassee as one of its 1 Gbps targets yet, but given its aggressive rollout initiative for businesses and consumers, the city could be on the list soon.

For more:
- see the release

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