The announcements were made at the Fall 2011 Channel Partners Conference & Expo, which channel chief Craig Schlagbaum called the partner program's “coming out" party, since it’s the first major channel event the cableco has participated in since the program's debut.The Comcast Business Partner Program launched with three national master agencies – Intelisys Communications Inc., Telarus Inc. and Telecom Brokerage Inc. (TBI). Now, Comcast is adding eight regional partners with direct agreements, specifically to sell its Metro Ethernet services. The new agents include Lightstream Communications, Salt Lake City; Total Communications Inc.; East Hartford, Conn; Simplify Inc, The Woodlands, Texas; Global Communications Group Inc., Denver; Interactive Telecom Solutions Inc. (ITS), Paramus, N.J.; Crystal Technologies Group, Westchester, Pa.; Bridgepointe Technologies, San Mateo, Calif; CTG3, Bellevue, Wash.; Leapfrog Technology Group, Chicago; and Telegration Inc., Detroit. Schlagbaum said the agents were chosen based on several criteria that included their track record in their region, a solid direct sales force, prior experience with Metro Ethernet, back-office capabilities and a desire to work with Comcast.
Like the partner program launch, Comcast is rolling out Metro Ethernet services to the channel on a controlled basis through its eight regional partners and select subagents of its exclusive master agencies. Schlagbaum said the controlled rollout is to make sure that the processes are in place since the product is new to Comcast and to the channel.
Comcast began rolling out its Metro Ethernet services in mid-May in more than 20 major U.S. markets, including Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Harrisburg, Pa.; Hartford; Houston; Indianapolis; Jacksonville; Miami; Nashville; State of New Jersey; Oakland; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Portland; Sacramento; Salt Lake City; San Francisco; San Jose; Seattle; Washington, D.C., and western New England.
“We are going to focus on a select number of markets initially where we know that we have good … coverage and support for the channel," Schlagbaum said. Schlagbaum declined to name the selected markets in an advance interview with Channel Partners, but hoped to share the information at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo.