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Comcast Business Nabs GSA Hunting License

In what could present a lucrative opportunity, Comcast Business said it has won a Schedule 70 contract with the General Services Administration (GSA) that enables the division to sell directly to federal, state and local government customers.

The initial Schedule 70 applies to Comcast Business Ethernet services. Later, the operator hopes Comcast plans to expand the Schedule to also include its voice product suite, and its business-focused Internet and TV offerings. The achievement doesn't necesarilly guarantee any deals, but getting the GSA stamp means a "vendor's pricing is fair and reasonable and that the vendor complies with all applicable laws and regulations," Comcast pointed out.

“Our work with federal, state and local government customers has shown us that bandwidth usage in government agencies is rapidly increasing as technology and constituent programs demand it,” said Kevin Carney, executive director of Government, Comcast Business, in a statement. “Now, federal government agencies can more easily turn to Comcast Business and our Ethernet services for secure, reliable, high-performance connectivity in many regions, including the Washington, D.C. area and other key federal markets.”

Comcast’s Metro Ethernet platform can scale from 1 Mbps to 10 Gbps via a 100 Gbps backbone. Like other MSOs, Comcast has been climbing Vertical Systems Group’s U.S. Carrier Ethernet Services Leaderboard. Though telcos took the top four spots among at the end of 2013 (AT&T, Verizon Communications, tw telecom, and CenturyLink), Time Warner Cable was ranked in the fifth spot, Cox Communications was sixth, followed by XO, Comcast and Level 3. Bright House, Charter Communications and Cablevision’s Lightpath unit were in the “challenge tier.” Comcast moved up from the challenge tier and was the fastest growing of all ranked companies, according to Vertical Systems.

Ethernet services are a key growth engine for Comcast’s commercial services unit. Comcast Business raked in $876 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from $699 million in the year-ago quarter, and $3.24 billion for all of 2013, compared to $2.56 billion in 2012. About 20% of revenues in the category come from mid-sized businesses served by the MSO's Ethernet platform.