Comcast Brings Ethernet Home

Vastly expanding the reach of its commercial-class Ethernet platform, Comcast Business on Monday formally rolled out Ethernet @Home, a service that can be delivered via the operator’s widely deployed hybrid fiber coax (HFC) network.

Ethernet @Home will give Comcast a way to build on its fiber-based Metro Ethernet platform that targets mid-sized business customers. Comcast sees the product addressing a range of use cases, including full-time teleworkers as well as healthcare and IT professionals and corporate executives who work from home on occasion but still require the kind of high-performing, private network connectivity that Ethernet can provide at their office locations.

Among the early adopters of Ethernet @Home is Cooper University Health Care of Camden, N.J., which is using the system to help its radiologists rapidly and securely review images and patient files from their homes via Cooper’s private network.

Comcast, citing estimates from Global Workplace Analytics, noted that about 50% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least part-time work from home. Another report from the Telework Research Network sees the number of full-time teleworkers rising to nearly 5 million by 2016.

The new HFC-based Ethernet product “is really oriented to our mid-markets and enterprise customers,” Mike Tighe, executive director, data services, for Comcast Business, said, noting that the operator has been using “Ethernet everywhere” terminology to drive home the implication of the offering. “It’s about enabling Ethernet connectivity anywhere our customer needs to be…taking Ethernet where it’s never been before.”

He said Comcast has been offering an Ethernet over HFC product for about 24 months, up to symmetrical 10 Mbps, with a priority-class of service, but started to introduce the new Ethernet @Home service over the summer. The new Ethernet @Home comes in a range of service types, including Ethernet Dedicated Internet (EDI), Ethernet Private Line (EPL) and Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL).

“10-Meg Ethernet is the new T-1,” Tighe said.

Word of the new offering began to emerge last month when Light Reading caught wind that the Ethernet @Home service was up for an award with the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF).

The new product is entering the mix as business services continue to represent a significant growth driver for Comcast. Its business services unit generated $1.01 billion in revenues in the third quarter of 2014, putting it on an annual run rate of more than $4 billion.