Building better business services will entail new models for cable operators as customers themselves migrate to IP and Ethernet services. Cable operators will also need to learn how to hand off larger business customers whose needs travel across various footprints. Wednesday’s “Operational Opportunities in Building Business Services” session took a look at how the landscape is shifting in the business services area. Moderator Kristine Faulkner, Cox’s vice president, product development and management, said business services represent a $120 billion to $120 billion market for cable operators, and the operational opportunities are “where the rubber meets the road.” Vyyo’s Steve Santamaria, senior vice president and general manager, business services, drew upon his experience at Charter during part of the session. “Internally, you need buy in from the CEO to the installers to do business services,” Santamaria said. “You have to make the decision about what works best for you, silo or integrated, and everything north of the modem is an install. Business customers are different, and they will raise your game across the board.” Spatialinfo Director of Broadband Services Bill Scheffler said it “was important to know where customers are for ROI,” and for techs to know which fiber to splice on a service call. “You need to understand network topology to meet SLAs and QoS,” Scheffler said. “A lot of operators have the platforms, but most don’t know what businesses are in their footprints.” Kurt Fennel, Time Warner Cable’s vice president, product management, drew some laughs when he quoted Faulkner from last year’s business symposium when he said “there’s still gold in HFC,” but operators need to layer in other business bundles as well. “We did fiber first to educational institutions, now hospitality, and then we’ll do finance,” he said. “Business customers need different customer care. You need to be proactive instead of reactive.” Cross MSO opportunities Fennel also talked about cross MSO opportunities based on Time Warner Cable and Charter’s work in Wisconsin. TWC in Milwaukee and Charter in Green Bay got their engineers together to see if they could provide business services to healthcare and financial institutions, along with some smaller farming and manufacturing entities. The goal was to have two customers in six months, but currently there are 12. The revenue projections, which were used to support the peering, were reached in six months instead of the initial projection of three years. But Fennel said issues such as SLAs, QoS and any resulting penalties still need to be worked out for true cross MSO opportunities. “At a low volume, it works,” Fennel said. “We need to use CTAM and SCTE to figure out how these relationships work at scale.” – Mike Robuck

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