Two items from last Thursday’s earnings report from Comcast caught our attention: First, the MSO’s digital voice deployments are hitting stride: an average of 15,385 additional subs per week over the past quarter, hitting 20k in some weeks. More on how Comcast’s technical teams are handling this scaled-up work next week. The second item involves Comcast’s plans to assemble a senior management team for commercial services in the second half of this year. This complements remarks made by Comcast President/CEO Brian Roberts at the Citigroup Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in Phoenix early this year. At that event, Roberts said "there are a lot of us inside the company that think that could be the next thing, small-medium sized business (SMB) bringing a whole suite of products in an IP world to the small business community as we pass them." At the same time, however, Roberts said that residential, digital voice outranked commercial/business services in terms of emphasis in 2006. The planned assembly of an executive team to focus on this area is far from a major initiative, but those watching this category have been waiting for some indication of when Comcast would begin engaging as aggressively as other MSOs, both large and small. CTAM and FOSE At the CTAM Business Services Forum, held during and after the National Show in Atlanta, execs from Charter, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Comcast shared their approaches and intentions. In the story reported by Peter Caranicas for sister pub Cable World, Comcast VP, Commercial Services, Kevin O’Toole said that the business arena presents the company with "a market opportunity measured in the multiple billions of dollars." (For the complete story, see the current issue online). That may summarize the matter. A significant opportunity exists, but a company the size of Comcast apparently gets into large categories such as voice over IP or commercial services only when it is prepared to scale. Equally if not more critical than in-house cable industry discussions on this topic are business events such as FOSE, "the nation’s premier technology event for government." This year on March 8, preceding an address by Cisco Systems President and CEO John Chambers, execs from Time Warner Cable Business Services and Cox Business Services as well as Comcast were slated to speak on a panel with one of the top technologists at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Others to watch are nimble and opportunistic smaller operators, such as US Cable Director of Engineering Michael Morris, who contributed an article to our latest Technology Edge newsletter for the NCTC, which we will be re-publishing in the June issue of Communications Technology. As with much of the technology aimed at this market segment, Morris has focused on leveraging his company’s fiber-optic assets. – Jonathan Tombes

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Cox Enterprises named Jennifer Hightower svp, general counsel and corporate secretary, effective Oct 4. Hightower has

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