Craig Schlagbaum, vice president of indirect channels for Comcast, told Channel Partners that the pilot involves five subagents that specialize in serving the hospitality industry. They were selected among nearly 50 candidates recommended by Comcast’s four primary master agents – Telarus, MicroCorp, Intelisys and Telecom Brokerage Inc. Schlagbaum declined to name the pilot participants so as to avoid them being solicited by other agents during the pilot.
Agents have been asking about getting access to Comcast’s hospitality bundle for some time, he added, but this will be the first opportunity to do so. And, he added, it’s not a product set easily replicated by a CLEC or satellite provider — each are missing components. “I think it will be a big hit; they have been banging on my door since January,” he said.
The hospitality pilot partner program is expected to run through fourth quarter during which time the participants are asked to “debug” the systems and processes. Orders already were being processed this week, Schlagbaum said.
Comcast held a training session for the pilot agents on the product set and ordering processes during the Channel Partners Conference & Expo.
The hospitality product set includes Internet (coax or Ethernet), voice and cable TV (standard or high-definition). The services previously were sold through Comcast’s residential division, but were relaunched about three months ago under the business division, which has repackaged and repriced the services for guest access.
“It’s a different product set than we offer to businesses,” Schlagbaum said. “The price points are different and the equipment is different.”
Once the pilot is concluded successfully, Comcast will open it up to additional agents. However, Schlagbaum said access will be given on a case-by-case basis to agents with experience serving the hospitality industry. “It’s one thing to provide Internet for the property’s back office, but another to offer tenant services,” he said.
The process for selecting those agents is yet to be determined, he added, but said the initial list provided by the master agents is a good starting place.