By Craig Leddy
Welcome to Channel Partners’ new “Cable Connection” column focusing on cable provider developments in business services and channel-partner relationships. Our first column is a roundup of top U.S. cable provider plans and priorities for business services in 2019.
Building on significant growth in 2018, cable providers continue to enhance their network capabilities and expand their product lines. They are building out fiber lines for gigabit internet and cloud support while enhancing existing connections with gigabit coax using DOCSIS 3.1. New managed and hosted services are in the offing, especially security products. The industry continues to seek to move up-market to serve enterprises, highlighted by Comcast Business and Spectrum Enterprise platforms to offer SD-WAN and support virtualization.
Business services continue to serve as a vital revenue driver for cable providers. The top five U.S. cable providers captured nearly $17.5 billion in business revenue in 2018 (see chart to the right) and are poised for further growth. The following provides a brief look at cable providers’ priorities beyond their established product lines of video, data, voice and cloud products. The companies are presented in order of their customer base sizes.
The nation’s largest cable provider is leading the way on cable’s deployment of SD-WAN, as part of its broader ActiveCore SDN (software defined network) platform supported by fiber, Ethernet and gigabit coax using DOCSIS 3.1 technology. To emphasize how enterprises can utilize the platform for remote locations, Comcast is offering a suite of solutions dubbed Branch In a Box, providing branch offices with a complete set of connectivity, security and a platform for cloud and business applications.
“We’re very excited to work with indirect sales channels on SD-WAN,” said Jeff Lewis, vice president of data product management at Comcast Business. Channel partners have the relationships, experience and background knowledge that make them “trusted advisers” to their business customers, he said. (See “Tales from the Front: Cable SD-WAN, One Year In.”)
Look for a new managed security product this year and potential VNFs (virtual network functions) added to the SDN platform. VNF candidates include advanced firewall, security, managed Wi-Fi applications and products by best-of-breed partners.
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Comcast’s indirect sales-partner organization features 11 master agents and thousands of selling partners. The company recently beefed up its channel support by adding 15 inside partners, according to Cary Tengler, executive director, national partner programs, Comcast Business Solutions Provider Program.
Charter Communications’ Spectrum continues to rank among the leading U.S. providers of fiber-lit buildings and Ethernet services. Lately, Spectrum has been adding gigabit coax capability in the march toward gigabit internet availability across its entire footprint.
Spectrum Enterprise has been carefully developing a …