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Summary

At the annual Comcast Business Analyst Conference on September 5–6, 2018, Comcast delivered a market update on "gig-speed" network progress. At its 2017 summit, Comcast announced the availability of gigabit Ethernet over its hybrid fiber-coax network. The gig-speed discussion at the 2018 summit centered on ubiquity, execution, and market momentum.

Gigabit Ethernet is foundational for SMB digital transformation

The small–medium business (SMB) market is at the front end of digital transformation. Historically, the SMB branch market was often underserved if not fiber-fed. Expectations and capabilities have evolved. Quick-serve restaurant franchisees are utilizing innovations in communications to improve their customers' experience, improve their own operational efficiency, and aid top-line and profit-line growth. The ordering process has been sped up via mobile apps, integrated payment functions, and express order pickup lanes. Security can be enhanced via onsite video cameras with cloud-based video storage. High-quality Wi-Fi leads to repeat customers and can be used for collecting customer traffic data to feed analytics engines. SMBs require up-to-date connectivity technology, and today's connectivity currency is a gigabit Ethernet.

Comcast Business delivers a gigabit of Ethernet access via its hybrid fiber-coax network. The optical core is extended deeper toward the network edge. The final run into the business premises can be via coax cable adhering to the Docsis 3.1 specification for a shared asymmetrical service or via fiber for a symmetrical service. Comcast has scaled the business and now is installing a new Ethernet location every five minutes. Comcast's Ethernet is cost-effective and ubiquitous. Leveraging the coax plant enables high-speed connectivity without the full price of last-mile fiber access. The coax plant provides greater network capillarity. Comcast has grown the metro Ethernet and Ethernet of hybrid fiber-coax ports 70% over the last 30 months.

The humble Ethernet access connection is a foundational pillar for digital transformation. Comcast continues to extend its gig-speed base, consigning legacy sub-rate services to history.

Appendix

Further reading

"Comcast Business: Is it finally getting down to large business?," ENS004-000038 (September 2018)

High-Speed OC Forecast: 2018–23, SPT003-000021 (September 2018)

Market Share Spreadsheet: 2Q18 Data Center Interconnect (DCI), SPT002-000118 (August 2018)

Author

Ian Redpath, Practice Leader, Components, Transport and Routing

ian.redpath@ovum.com

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