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Comcast Dials Up StarTek

Comcast has seen healthy growth in its voice-over-Internet Protocol business, and it has recently added some back-office support to make sure new customers are dialed into the service.

The cable operator struck a deal with back-office systems provider StarTek, which has up to now made its business mostly among telephone-company and wireless players.

For StarTek, in turn, the Comcast deal provides a good foot in the door toward providing other operators with the support infrastructure they need to grow voice systems.

StarTek's Intelligent Enterprise Solutions will provide a range of functions for Comcast Digital Voice, including complex order management to port center management and provisioning, local service and local provisioning management — in short, many of the functions needed to set up and track customer accounts.

“A lot of it is taking those orders and processing them and getting people the service,” said Steve Butler, president and CEO of StarTek.

The deal also will allow StarTek to reactivate a service center it owns in Laramie, Wyo. The facility had previously handled back-office systems for a client, but about seven months ago that client chose to take those services in-house and canceled the contract.

The modestly sized Laramie facility “fit the Comcast model quite nicely for today, and as we grow and expand from that facility, there is opportunity to open up other facilities.”

In that case, the Laramie facility will probably be maintained as a backup to its larger siblings, reflecting the fact that many operator clients are looking for outsource partners with a backup plan in case of interruption.

Down the road, that could expand beyond Comcast's digital voice to include future wireless voice services.

“It basically opens the door, and allows us entry into what I would think is much more opportunity with them,” Butler said. “We look forward to expanding that partnership on many different levels because of what we can do, and what we've proven we've been able to do with other clients.”