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Cable Attacking Commercial Market

CHICAGO – SCTE – Looking to steal more prime customers from the phone companies, cable operators are ramping up their efforts to lure away small and medium-sized firms with enhanced broadband data, video, and voice offerings.

Indeed, after several years of testing the waters and boosting their capabilities, MSO executives are making noises about pursuing the huge commercial services market much more aggressively over the next 18 months. Meeting at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) ' second annual Business Services Symposium here this week, they debated numerous strategies for attacking the business telecom market with their existing hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) networks, fresh fiber links, and newfangled wireless plant extension technologies.

"There's still gold in the HFC plant," proclaimed Kurt Fennell, VP of product management for Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). "The technologies are changing. There are many more options available to us."

Cable strategists reckon that now's a good time to plunge into the business services market, at least partly because of its vast size. They cite estimates that the commercial sector spends about $120 billion to $130 billion a year on telecom services.

But the cable guys also think their timing is good because of the consolidation in the phone industry. With both Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) gobbling up their telco counterparts, cable officials see strong potential for picking off scores of smaller commercial customers who have already been feeling neglected by their phone providers.

"Small and medium-sized businesses in most markets, particularly our market, have been ignored," stated David Pistacchio, executive VP and general manager of Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC)'s Optimum Lightpath operation in New York. "They're desperate for someone to sell them services besides Verizon."

Get the whole story at Cable Digital News.

— Alan Breznick, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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