Comcast Meshes Ethernet With Docsis 3.0
In several major markets, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s business services unit has quietly rolled out Ethernet-over-coax (EoC) services that take advantage of the operator's widely deployed Docsis 3.0 network.
While early U.S. cable EoC deployments have been based on older Docsis 2.0 technology to offer dedicated 2Mbit/s upstream/downstream connections, the use of Docsis 3.0 gives Comcast the ability to deliver better speeds, including tiers of 4Mbit/s and 6Mbit/s. In addition to giving Comcast a better T1 replacement strategy, the higher speeds will also come in handy as operators tie in more cloud-based services tailored for business customers. Comcast has started down that road with Business VoiceEdge, a hosted PBX service launched in March. (See Comcast Rolls Business Voice Into the Cloud.)
According to a spokesman, Comcast has already deployed its Docsis 3.0/Ethernet combo in its Northeast division (Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Western New England); Atlanta; Chicago; Denver; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and in its California systems.
"Additional markets will be rolled out by the end of the year and into 2013," the spokesman says.
After targeting small businesses, Comcast more recently has been moving up-market to pursue deals with businesses with up to 500 employees via the operator's fiber-fed Metro Ethernet platform based on gear from Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR). Its Ethernet-over-coax deployment doesn't deliver quite as much speed, but it will enable it to vastly expand its Ethernet-capable footprint, extend Ethernet-style service level agreements (SLAs) to more business customers, and siphon away more revenues from incumbent telcos. (See Ciena, Cisco & Juniper Get Piece of Comcast's MetroE and Cable's Cut of the Biz Services Pie to Eclipse $7B .)
At last week's Light Reading event in New York dedicated to cable's business services activities, Comcast Business Services SVP and GM of New Business Solutions Kevin O'Toole presented a keynote on his company's commercial services strategy, and later offered some additional detail in this LRTV interview:
Tying together Ethernet and Docsis 3.0 is starting to catch on with other major cable operators that are being aggressive with business services. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), which is already delivering Ethernet services using Docsis 2.0, discussed plans to make the leap to Docsis 3.0 at last month's Ethernet Expo in New York City. (See TW Cable to Blend Ethernet With Docsis 3.0.)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable