Cablevision Turns Up SMB Heat

11:40 AM -- The battle between Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is heating up again, with the MSO this time taking an aggressive stab at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Cablevision, which already targets large enterprise customers via its Optimum Lightpath unit, is now looking to juice up its SMB play, Optimum Business, with 30-day trial offers. (See Cablevision Launches SMB Tilt.)

Boiled down, SMBs that switch to Optimum Business's Internet and voice service, which rely on Docsis and PacketCable, will get a refund if they're not satisfied with both services during that initial period. Under the promotion, Cablevision is selling SMB voice and data packages for US$29.95 per month each to new customers during their first year with the MSO.

The move comes as cable continues to use business services as a growth engine and attempts to cut into turf typically dominated by the telcos.

The strategy has been paying off. Among major MSOs, Cox Communications Inc. , Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) each breached the $1 billion mark in total annual business services revenues for the first time in 2010. (See Cox Business to Break $1B Barrier , The Next Billion and Cable's $5B Biz Services Bonanza .)

At last check, Heavy Reading was predicting that the US cable industry was poised to generate more than $5 billion in commercial revenues in 2010. (See Cable's $5B Biz Services Bonanza .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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