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Comcast is expanding its rivalry with telephone companies by providing enterprises with the option of turning to the cable television company for network management services.
Comcast, largely known as a consumer cable TV provider, is leaping into a crowded field of network management providers that include Verizon, Sprint and AT&T.
Matthew Craig, an analyst for the Monkena, Ill.-based Nemertes Research said the move is bold, but not entirely unexpected. Comcast began offering services to small businesses in 2007. Since then, it has been expanding its product portfolio.
"That [network management services] is a big jump and big bite to take on," Craig said. "This is just like any other market in that it is going to take time to establish yourself."
Over the last five years, Comcast has been expanding its managed services market for small and medium-sized businesses, Craig said. The latest services will be aimed at enterprises nationwide with a focus on the largest companies.
Network Management Services: a growing field
More businesses are moving from traditional on-premise networking in data centers to an outside service provider. The U.S. market for managed services is expected to rise to $52 billion in 2019, up from $29 billion in 2014, according to Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.
"We're seeing businesses not want to have that day-to-day worry about the network so they can worry about the more strategic initiatives," Craig said.
Comcast Business, as the division is called, will target Fortune 1000 companies and other "large enterprises with multiple nationwide locations," the company said in a statement.
"Large companies need a provider [that] can help them manage complex networks, develop business continuity plans and integrate cloud-based applications," said Bill Stemper, president of Comcast Business.
The move will help Comcast round out their portfolio and help attract larger clients, according to Danellie Young, an analyst for Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.
"This will ... allow them to compete more effectively against the larger providers, as much of these capabilities are already in the competitor's portfolios," Young said.
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