Managed Services

Cox Opens Up New Telco Battlefront

Cox Communications Inc. 's business arm is muscling up for its battle with the telcos while expanding its up-market strategy with its first launch of managed IP PBX service, in Oklahoma and Las Vegas.

The MSO is targeting those IP PBX launches to small- and mid-sized businesses with up to 100 employees that have limited or no in-house IT resources. So, consider this a new Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) play from the cable world. (See Cox Ramps Up IP PBX.)

Cox is powering the service with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s IP PBX platform and IP desktop phones, lighting up features such as four-digit dialing and unified messaging for up to five networked locations. Cox is also the first cable operator to achieve Cisco's Managed Services Channel Partner Express Certification.

"This is a step beyond serving small businesses with multi-line EMTAs [embedded multimedia terminal adapters]," says Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Alan Breznick. "This is part of their moving-up strategy and getting into the mid-sized enterprise market. And it opens up a new battlefront with the telcos."

Why this matters
Cable's eager to move up-market on the business front and bite off much more than the 4 percent of the $130 billion to $140 billion U.S. business service pie it's getting now. (See Is Cable Ready for the Business Big Leagues?)

For its part, Cox eclipsed the $1 billion mark in annual commercial service revenues for the first time in 2010, and is starting to develop strategies on how to double that in the coming years by targeting larger businesses and building out its ability to provide managed and hosted services.

Cox started to ramp up this strategy last year with the introduction of a hosted VoIP service. Cox intends to bolster that with the launch of SIP trunking later this year. (See CableLabs Project Targets SIP Trunking .)

Cox's new IP PBX+ product offers an option for businesses that want a more premise-based platform, explains Cox Business VP of Product Development and Management Kristine Faulkner.

And Cox's move toward more managed business services and the targeting of bigger commercial game plays along a broader cable trend. Among recent moves, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is looking to jolt its SMB plans via a $230 million deal for NaviSite (Nasdaq: NAVI).

For more
For more on cable's bigger business ambitions, please check out these stories:

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:13:25 PM
re: Cox Opens Up New Telco Battlefront

Just to flesh out what else is getting packaged in here, Cox's IP PBX+ product will also support integrated firewalls, conferencing, paging, VPN support for remote office capabilities, and power over Ethernet. JB


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