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Comcast expands metro Ethernet services

By Donna Donnowitz
May 17, 2011
Comcast recently announced plans to expand its service offerings for medium-sized businesses by bringing metro Ethernet services to 20 new markets.

According to a recent CED magazine report, Comcast's move comes after the company has fallen behind other major competitors by only deploying metro internet on a small scale and targeting it toward small businesses.

However, Comcast may also have a major edge in offering the advanced Ethernet service in metro regions. The telecom provider is building its metro Ethernet technology on a combination of fiber-optic and IP-based networks. This means businesses will have access to high-bandwidth backbone connections that can be converted to Ethernet on-premise through fiber-to-Ethernet technology.

The report said Comcast is depending on this already-robust network infrastructure to get businesses to adopt is services. The company is especially targeting organizations using cloud computing and other remote application delivery methods that depend on a high-quality internet connection.

"I think our last mile is an incredible, unique asset and the more ways that we can come up with to take advantage of that to meet the needs of small- and medium-size businesses, the better off we'll be," said Kevin O'Toole, senior vice president of product management and strategy for Comcast Business Services. "That is where you'll see us continue to focus a lot of energy. We think there's a lot of additional upside to be had in the metro Ethernet space as we go forward."

To support its claims that its metro Ethernet services can offer improved service levels, Comcast is giving users the chance to leverage a diverse range of Ethernet speeds when choosing their solution. Service options include 1 Mbps, 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps connections.

Bill Stemper, president of Comcast Business Services, said the company's new offerings come, in part, to replace legacy network options, including T1. He said the new trend toward metro Ethernet could eventually replace legacy networks entirely and have a similar impact on the industry has broadband services had in replacing dial-up in home networks.

According to Connected Planet's report on Comcast's metro Ethernet strategies, the company is currently focused on delivering the high-performance networking technology exclusively in metro areas. However, when it has deployed enough backbone infrastructure to support its metro Ethernet initiatives, the company could begin connecting cities, Kevin O'Toole told the news source.


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