Comcast may be gaining momentum in the business services arena, particularly with small businesses, but the service provider says its real growth opportunity will be with medium and large enterprises.
Being the fastest growing service provider business service segment for services like Ethernet and cloud, the service provider’s ongoing build-out of fiber and expanding DOCSIS 3.1 data services make it a viable threat to large telcos like AT&T and Verizon.
It appears Comcast Business is on that path. In 2017, Comcast saw a $6.5 billion revenue run rate for business services.
Brian Roberts, CEO and chairman of Comcast, told investors during its fourth-quarter 2017 earnings call that the cable MSO is going to focus more of its attention on larger business accounts.
“In business services, we’re still in the early stages of bringing our superior products to the addressable markets in mid-sized and enterprise customers,” Roberts said.
Roberts added that “what’s particularly exciting in business services is the room for growth ahead as we have the opportunity to take more share in each of our customer segments.”
Business services revenue rose 12.2% in the fourth quarter to $1.68 billion. The cable MSO said the revenue jump was related to increases in the number of customers receiving its small and medium-sized business services offerings.
During the fourth quarter, Comcast added 33,000 new business customer relationships, and for the year ended Dec. 31, 2017, business customer relationships increased by 135,000.
What’s more, Comcast Business increased revenue per business customer relationships by 5%.
“Business services continued to be a top driver in our cable results,” said Michael Cavanagh, CFO of Comcast. “We delivered another strong quarter of double digit growth primarily driven by customer growth.”
Cavanagh added that “all business service segments, including small, medium-sized and now enterprise are focused on connectivity and have substantial room for future growth.”
A key element in business services growth is, no surprise, high speed internet services and new services like SD-WAN and extending its DOCSIS 3.1-based 1 Gbps services.
By rolling out DOCSIS 3.1-based 1 Gbps services across its northeastern and mid-Atlantic service footprints, Comcast sees an opportunity to more effectively compete against Verizon and other telcos for businesses that desire higher speeds but don't need a fiber connection. The cable MSO plans to roll out the DOCSIS 3.1-based service throughout its national network footprint.
In 2017, Comcast Business took another step forward with its own SDN virtualization plans by debuting its SD-WAN product. The cable MSO is offering SD-WAN in conjunction with its 1 Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 broadband service and fiber services for businesses.
What’s significant for Comcast’s new SD-WAN offering is it is the first service that will be delivered on the Comcast Business ActiveCore SDN platform, which the cable MSO is touting as one of the first cable-delivered, gigabit-ready SDN platforms.