Outlook 2013: Cable Communications

By Khali Henderson and Kelly Teal Comments

SMB Bundles, Enterprise Ethernet Top Picks for Partners

Cable communications are gaining market share among businesses and mindshare among the channel. Both are due to intensified efforts on the part of the cablecos to target both groups. In 2012, all of the top five cable companies have rolled out a footprint-wide channel program. All are making investments in supporting the channel as well as upgrading their product portfolios to include not only high bandwidth connectivity but hosted voice and managed IT services that will make them increasingly fierce competitors to the telcos, particularly in the SMB market.

Market Opportunity. ATLANTIC-ACM forecasts cable companies' share of the wireline business telecommunications market will grow from 5.2 percent in 2010 to 13.6 percent in 2017. The research firm said cable’s simplified Internet/VoIP bundles have helped it gain share in the small business market, but their growing expertise in the Ethernet will help them expand upmarket.

Industry Predictions. Cable communications analysts, providers and channel partners are in agreement that cablecos will continue to take share in the SMB space with the coax bundles and will grow their Ethernet services portfolios. In some cases they will grow their product sets and their footprints by acquisition. There was general optimism that cablecos would strengthen their commitment to the channel with more robust sales-enablement tools but also some fear that they may reverse course à la other large service providers.

"The cable MSOs will continue their deployment of Ethernet-based services, including IP VPN and MPLS-based networking offerings. ... We expect cable companies to aggressively deploy Ethernet over coax to connect suburban areas to downtown urban areas and begin offering cost-effective private networking."
—NPRG's Craig Clausen

"Some purchases of smaller players [will] extend their reach and expertise in the SMB space."
— ATLANTIC-ACM's Dr. Jury Reed Smith

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