Comcast Introduces Metro Ethernet Services for SMBs

The services are now available in more than 20 major U.S. markets and available in four versions.

Communications giant Comcast announced Metro Ethernet services as part of an ongoing strategy to expand its portfolio of business services to meet the requirements of larger customers. Targeted at midsize businesses with 20-500 employees, Comcast's Metro Ethernet services provide access to the company's fiber optic network for businesses with high-bandwidth needs and often multiple locations. The services are now available in more than 20 major U.S. markets, with expansion into new markets planned in the months ahead.

Comcast Metro Ethernet services are delivered using the company's fiber-based IP network. Comcast delivers bandwidth from 1M bps up to 10G bps that can be remotely scaled in increments of 1M bps, 10M bps, 100M bps or 1G bps, and offered with three different classes of service. Comcast is the first carrier of Metro Ethernet services to have all three certifications from the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF 9, 14 and 18), which are backed by service level agreements, and monitored 24/7 from Comcast's dedicated network operations centers.

Delivered from a network featuring more than 147,000 miles of fiber optic cable and serving 20 of the nation's 25 largest markets, Comcast offers four Metro Ethernet Services, including Ethernet Private Line Service, point-to-point connectivity between two customer sites for bandwidth-intensive applications and Ethernet Virtual Private Line Service, a point-to-multipoint connection that allows customers to tailor bandwidth, performance characteristics and cost to meet the needs of their applications.

The other two services are Ethernet Network Service, which offers multipoint-to-multipoint connectivity to connect organizations with high-bandwidth requirements and multiple locations across Comcast's network and Ethernet Dedicated Internet Access Service, for continuous, high-bandwidth connectivity between customers' LANs and the public Internet.

"As mid-sized businesses increasingly operate within a virtualized IT environment of cloud and SAAS resources to improve productivity and reduce operational expenses, their demand for secure, reliable and high-performance connectivity will continue to grow," said Sandra Palumbo, a research fellow at Yankee Group. "This market segment has high-bandwidth requirements across multiple sites and values the lower cost of ownership, simplicity and scalable capacity of Metro Ethernet. Significant last mile networks and investments in advanced Carrier Ethernet network infrastructure are vital."

Analysts expect the U.S. business carrier Ethernet services market will continue to grow by double-digits as midsize businesses look to streamline the cost and performance of their WAN (wide area networks) by upgrading to Ethernet from legacy technologies such as T1 lines, Frame Relay and ATM. Today, customers with those services typically must rely on bonding multiple T1 lines or fractional T3 lines. Doing so can result in an expensive and limited capacity solution unable to address escalating bandwidth requirements for cloud computing, business continuity, business process automation, SAAS (software as a service) and other applications.

Comcast currently provides Metro Ethernet services in the following markets: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Harrisburg, Pa., Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, the state of New Jersey, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and western New England.

"Our fiber-rich network powers our Metro Ethernet services and provides a secure, reliable and cost-effective solution for mid-sized businesses' data needs," said Bill Stemsaper, president of Comcast Business Services. "Metro Ethernet is quickly overtaking T1 and other legacy services as the preferred technology for business communications. Just as broadband supplanted dial-up in consumers' homes, our new Metro Ethernet services are designed to help businesses compete and win using our fast and scalable digital platform."