Watch out, ILECs! Comcast holds big plans for the commercial voice market and will spend $250mln this year (and $3bln over 5 years) going after small-medium businesses, said chmn/CEO Brian Roberts Tues at the Citigroup conference. Roberts estimates 5mln 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 HSD subs, but none receive voice services. Potential commercial growth, consistent VOD 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 4.8mln RGU 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, on demand views grew 29% Y-over-Y in Dec to 180mln. 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 (Cfax, 12/7).

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