Watch out, ILECs! Comcast holds big plans for the commercial voice market and will spend $250 million this year (and $3 billion over 5 years) going after small-medium businesses, said Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts this week at the Citigroup conference which was help in conjunction with the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show.

Roberts estimates 5 million such businesses are currently within Comcast’s footprint, and he expects to enlist 25% of them over the next 5 years while achieving a 25%+ rate of return. The MSO plans to hire 500 employees this year, primarily in sales, to service the nascent market.

Comcast currently owns 250K commercial high-speed data (HSD) or broadband subscribers, but none receive voice services. Potential commercial growth, consistent video on demand success and expansive upside in digital voice have all conspired to leave Roberts anticipating a scorching ’07.

"The company is on fire, and I am excited and energized. There has never been a more exciting time [for Comcast]," he said. Roberts estimates 4.8 million RGU (revenue generating unit, or subscriber) adds in ’06, an 85% increase over ’05, and posits that within 4 years 50% of Comcast’s subs will receive services other than video.

Meanwhile, Comcast on Demand views grew 29% year-over-year in December to 180 million. Roberts is also "very excited about the revenue potential" of day-and-date initiatives with movie studios. CableFAX was the first to report on the MSO’s day-and-date VOD trial now underway in Pittsburgh and Denver (CableFAX Daily, 12/7).

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