RCN’s DOCSIS 3.1 Gbps service could eventually disrupt New York City’s SMB market

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RCN recently rolled out its 1 Gbps service in New York City targeting residential customers, but the cable provider sees an opportunity to market the service to small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that may not be candidates for a fiber-based service.

RELATED: RCN sets DOCSIS 3.1-powered 1-gig services in New York

Bruce Abbott, VP and GM of RCN New York, told FierceTelecom that while the initial focus is on serving residential customers, the service provider will bring the same service to SMBs at some point. However, he could not reveal a specific timeline yet. 

“Eventually we will likely roll this out to our small business customers, but we’re going to get started on our residential side,” Abbot said.

Getting this service out there puts RCN in the competitive driver’s seat as it is the first provider in New York City to offer a 1 Gbps service. Verizon’s FiOS offers symmetrical speeds of 500 Mbps, and Time Warner Cable launched a 300 Mbps product as part of its “TWC Maxx” bundle before Charter acquired the cable company. Finally, Altice USA (formerly Cablevision) offers a 300 Mbps product and other Ethernet-enabled services to businesses in New York and New Jersey.

Building a case to extend 1 Gbps makes sense in large cities like New York City where the service provider has already built out a large footprint of traditional coaxial cable that passes by SMBs.

In New York City, RCN and its business unit RCN Business have been aggressively expanding its reach throughout the city, targeting major building sites.

The cable provider previously equipped a large portion of the MDUs in the city with upgraded coax in places like the Empire State building, in 2014, for example.

Later, RCN extended its business services to 450-460 Park Avenue in Manhattan, and had established a point of presence (PoP) at the 325 Hudson meet me room in New York City.

The service provider said in a previous interview that it will serve a mix of both large and small businesses. This client mix will be served by its new fiber and traditional hybrid fiber coax facilities.  

"We ultimately think it will be a mix and we're hoping to secure the large dollars with the fiber circuits and the enterprise customers, but we did not want to ignore the opportunity to serve the smaller CPA firm or whoever is still in the building, so we opted to put both services in the building and make them available," Abbott said.