Comcast Boosts Biz Service Speed

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is widening the Internet pipe it's using to connect small- and mid-sized business customers to the Internet.

On Tuesday, Comcast said it has doubled the speeds for its Docsis-fueled "Business Class" Internet service -- from 8 Mbit/s downstream and 1 Mbit/s upstream, to 16 Mbit/s and 2 Mbit/s, respectively. The increase, offered in all Comcast markets, comes at no extra cost. Prices for the MSO's Business Class Internet service range from $59 to $89 per month, according to a Comcast spokeswoman. The MSO also bundles in some "corporate grade" software and apps from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). (See Comcast, Microsoft Get Down to (Small) Business .)

The speedier tier also matches up with "Blast!," a product targeted at residential users (See Comcast Has a 'Blast!' in the Bay .)

But it's not the fastest service that Comcast offers. The MSO also hawks a 50 Mbit/s (downstream) Docsis 3.0-based tier, which is priced at $199.95 per month, in one market -- Minneapolis/St. Paul. (See Comcast Enters the Wideband Era .)

The speed increase comes as Comcast is looking to push more aggressively with business services. The MSO, which hired Bill Stemper away from Cox Communications Inc. in 2006, posted $384 million in business service-related revenues in 2007. While that marked a 46 percent increase from the prior year, it represented just 1 percent of the operator's overall revenues. (See Comcast Aims for SMBs.)

But, to show its dedication in this potentially lucrative product area, Comcast relayed in its fourth-quarter call that it had 2,100 people dedicated to its SMB effort, with a goal of generating $2.5 billion in SMB-related revenues by 2011. (See Comcast Aims for SMBs.)

Comcast is scheduled to release its first-quarter results Thursday morning (May 1).

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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