Busy Summer for Business Services

Summer has proven a busy season for cable business services, with a flurry of announcements coming out since June.

Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) in particular has issued a lot of news, beginning with a new multi-site enterprise network for the Atlanta Braves baseball team. This will connect the Braves' front offices at Sun Trust Park with minor league team operations in Georgia and Virginia. Comcast will provide two 100 Gbps Ethernet lines into the Braves' new ballpark, slated for completion in 2017. The Ethernet Network Service solution will connect new front offices at Sun Trust to the club's minor league teams in Rome and Gwinnett County, GA, and Danville, VA, as well as a sales location at CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. Comcast will also support phone services at the SunTrust Park offices.

Comcast Business also will provide a 100 Gbps Ethernet connection between the recently opened University Technology Center on the campus of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA, and the university's primary data center at University Park. It is the largest network operated by Comcast Business in the eastern United States and the third 100 Gbps Ethernet network the company has constructed across the country.

In a third summer announcement, Comcast said it plans to invest more than $9 million over the next year in an expansion of its fiber-based network across Virginia to reach more than 3,000 businesses. The fiber-optic Ethernet network expansion is designed for up to 100 Gbps of network capacity.

In Xfinity news, Comcast plans to trial its cloud-based X1 video platform with Comcast Business customers for the first time. The company will begin with a hospitality industry trial this summer with Philadelphia hotels.

X1 features to be trialed with hotels include:

  • Voice control
  • Pause/rewind live TV
  • Free-to-guest on-demand
  • X1 sports app
  • Language of choice

And in Oregon, Comcast Business will provide Ethernet services to LifeWorks Northwest, in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. With a staff of more than 700, LifeWorks NW is a nonprofit that provides mental health, addiction and prevention health care services to nearly 19,000 individuals at multiple locations across the Portland metro area.

WOW! Business has made its fiber-optic based Internet, data and voice services available to eight more downtown Tampa, FL, commercial buildings. This is part of a $20 million investment in Tampa Bay and Pinellas County designed to take advantage of local market opportunities stemming from recent cable industry mergers and acquisitions. Bright House Networks, which was recently acquired by Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), operates in Tampa, as does Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA).

WOW! also has upgraded its Madison Academy's fiber-based Internet service from 200 Mbps to 1 Gbps. The fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) solution connects two campus locations in Huntsville, AL, and the Corral, a multipurpose student service center. The plan is to build a fiber connection to another building, which would enable three wide-area network (WAN) sites.

Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B) launched a managed network security service, SmartSecurity, which is a cloud-based solution designed specifically for the small and medium business (SMB) market. It's powered by Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) Meraki.

SmartSecurity features include:

  • Business-grade firewall: Perimeter security to permit or deny network traffic
  • Advanced threat protection: Track and prevent the latest threats with automatic virus updates
  • Content control: Permit or deny access to specific types of web content across a variety of categories, including gambling and gaming sites
  • Application control: Set custom network policies for employees and guests by controlling application-based traffic across the network
  • Safeguard remote workers: Remote employees can connect to the office over a secured connection
  • Secure multiple locations: Connect offices through a secure network connection

AT&T (NYSE:T) had a couple of recent announcements. The company launched gigabit Internet services for both residential and business customers in parts of San Diego, CA, and El Paso, TX. The deployments include the telco's GigaPower and AT&T Business Fiber services.

Additionally, AT&T made GigaPower available to single-family homes, more than 25 apartment complexes, and small businesses in parts of Indianapolis and surrounding communities. AT&T Business Fiber also is now available in the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson market area as well as throughout Indiana in the Bedford, Bloomington, Columbus, Crawfordsville, Evansville, Frankfort, Kokomo, Marion, Michigan City-La Porte, Muncie, New Castle, South Bend-Mishawaka and Vincennes areas.

Canadian cable operator Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.A) is expanding the availability of its gigabit Internet services in Moncton, New Brunswick. The company's Rogers Ignite Gigabit and Rogers Ignite for business Gigabit Internet is now available in neighborhoods across Greater Moncton.

Rogers plans to continue to expand its Ignite Gigabit service across New Brunswick and into Newfoundland in the coming months. The MSO first announced the Ignite gigabit service in October and began rolling it out in March.

Liberty Business, Liberty Puerto Rico's (NASDAQ:LBTYA) business division, has joined ADTRAN's (NASDAQ:ADTN) "Enabling Communities, Connecting Lives" program. The division is utilizing ADTRAN's gigabit services architecture to deliver 1 Gbps broadband speeds to schools and SMBs in rural locations of the island, mainly in western and southern Puerto Rico. Liberty Business is also providing infrastructure to connect previously underserved schools.

Windstream (NASDAQ:WIN) announced an expansion of its metro fiber network in the Nashville area. The expansion is intended to provide the area's business community with fiber and fixed-wireless infrastructure to connect local data centers and commercial buildings with Windstream's nationwide fiber network.

The expansion includes the downtown, West End/Elliston Place, Midtown/Vanderbilt, Green Hills, Brentwood, Airport/Donelson and Cool Springs areas.

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