Heavy Reading
Length: 23 Pages
Price: $1,495
Craig Leddy
Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading
Craig is a veteran cable industry writer, speaker and market analyst, and a regular contributor to Heavy Reading...MORE
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Length: 23 Pages
Price: $1,495
Cable Has Its Eyes on the Enterprise Business Prize

Over the past several years, cable providers have made tremendous headway by signing up small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) for high-speed Internet and other services. Now the industry is taking aim at a bigger prize: the enterprise market of large businesses and nationwide corporations.

While individual MSOs are ramping up their enterprise efforts, the cable industry has launched a cross-MSO initiative to serve enterprises that straddle MSO service footprints. In December 2015, Comcast Enterprise Solutions, a recently formed division, kicked off the effort in a meeting with major MSOs.

Cable's growth in the SMB market has been impressive, now producing more than $12 billion annually, according to Heavy Reading estimates. But the enterprise market creates new demands and puts cable squarely at odds with telephone companies and other competitors that thrive on enterprise customers.

To meet the more stringent demands, cable is looking to new solutions to enhance business customer care and network management. The industry is exploring network functions virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN), new operations/business support systems (O/BSS) and other means of virtualizing and automating services. Network traffic management, monitoring and service assurance solutions promise to help providers to gain visibility into their networks and flexibly provision emerging applications, such as managed WiFi, managed security and on-demand bandwidth capacity.

The cable industry has made great strides by serving SMBs. Cable business services are proving to be a valuable revenue driver during a time when growth in the residential cable TV business has flattened or declined for MSOs. In addition to small businesses, the industry has established an important role with business verticals and institutions that are vital to the lifeblood of the U.S., including education, healthcare, hospitality, finance and government.

There are many challenges in serving enterprises that straddle MSO service territories, but Comcast Enterprise Solutions is taking the first steps toward breaking down the barriers. It remains to be seen how well the MSOs can work together and how well enterprises respond, but once the MSOs jointly win over one major enterprise, like a Fortune 500 company, it will go a long way toward making cable a viable option for others.

As cable moves into the enterprise market, it will make network improvements and add capabilities that will benefit all of cable's commercial service efforts, perhaps providing upside for residential service, as well. For the SMB and enterprise markets, it is time for cable to get down to business.

Cable Has Its Eyes on the Enterprise Business Prize explores the prospects for cable to serve the enterprise market and the opportunities and challenges ahead. Much of the information was obtained at the Light Reading Future of Cable Business Services conference in December 2015, which featured extensive discussions among cable providers, tech suppliers and industry analysts about cable's enterprise efforts. Also included are profiles of eight technology suppliers that support U.S. cable's business services and that offer solutions that could come into play as MSOs move up market.



Business services have produced impressive year-to-year revenue growth for cable service providers. In 2015, total U.S. cable business service revenue topped more than $12 billion, according to Heavy Reading estimates. The business services category appears as a shining beacon of revenue growth during a time when cable television revenue is flat or declining. The following excerpt shows the estimated business services revenue for six major MSOs in 2015, based on Heavy Reading estimates and company statements. Business services represents a major growth area for each of them.


Cable Has Its Eyes on the Enterprise Business Prize is published in PDF format.