If cable’s hole card is business/commercial services, then nobody plays it better than Cox. Other MSOs such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter offer commercial high-speed data and business services, but Cox is the leader at using high-speed data services to get a commercial customer’s nose in the tent—and then wowing them with much more. High-speed data accounts for about a third of revenue for Cox Business Services, with another third coming from voice-related services and the balance from high-capacity, high-bandwidth services. "High-speed data is a service that many of our commercial customers—particularly if they’ve never experienced Cox before—feel good starting with," says Bill Stemper, corporate VP for Cox Business Services. "If you’re in one of our newer markets, then high-speed data might be one of the prime services that we find the market is ready for. In an established market, it could be high-speed data or it could be voice or it could be the bundle of the two." That bundle-driven philosophy has helped Cox Business Services become Cox Communications’ fastest growing unit. Stemper says this year Cox Business will increase its revenue by about 25% and account for 12% to 15% of the company’s overall growth. Stemper credits a "go-to-market strategy," for Cox Business’ growth. That strategy has sales and engineering execs proving to customers "that what we say is for real and what we deliver is what they wanted." He singles out Jason Welz, who joined the company in August as VP of Cox Business Services for its Northern Virginia market, as an example of the kind of talent the company wants. Welz, formerly VP of marketing and business development for Time Warner Cable’s commercial services division, joined Cox because of the company’s serious commitment to commercial services and because he would be given the opportunity to build a Cox Business’ market from the ground up. "Cable companies have proven, as with the advent of high-speed data, because of our localism, that we’re very, very good at serving the local community," he says. "So taking the high-speed data product initially and taking it from a home to a business and adding the right level of support and bundle in the right additional products has been a natural progression." Welz has been assessing the opportunities that his high-profile market—with its proximity to Washington, D.C.—offers. "High-speed data is often what opens up the conversation, but we find our voice capabilities are also what helps us expand upon relationships," he says. "We’re a relatively new [circuit-switched] voice market here, but we’re finding the ability to offer the true triple play is a very nice advantage." Welz sees potential in leveraging the speed and reliability of Cox broadband on both the residential and commercial sides. In the metro D.C. area, the government requires that certain elements of its workforce need to be telecommuting at least part time. "We have to figure out ways to work more with government and enterprise customers to assist them to make it more feasible for their employees to telecommute. When you start being able to truly leverage those [commercial and residential broadband] audiences, that’s where it really becomes very interesting." Colleges facing space constraints also provide opportunities for cable’s business services units. When squeezed colleges don’t have any more room to grow, the only way they can stay in business is to increase their student base by creating distant campuses—which need broadband services. "As cable operators staff up on the commercial side and really dive into this business, it’s just a matter of time before opportunities like this really start getting off the ground," he says. As Stemper puts it, it’s all part of how high-speed data services can create a foundation for leading-edge commercial uses of cable’s network. "A lot of our customers have the end applications," he says. "What they need is the `enable’ and `in-between’ to move them around. That’s something we’re working on very closely."

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