While cable operators are relatively late comers to the enterprise market, they continue to squeeze more revenue out of the sector. When Cox Business was created in 2000, it was among the first cable MSOs to enter the market, with about $100 million in revenue in 2000. Since then, it has quickly grown.
After reaching the $1 billion annual revenue mark at the end of 2010, the unit is on track to pass $2 billion by the end of this year. Small businesses have been the company’s sweet spot: around 80 percent of its 350,000 business customers are small. And this segment is still going strong. For this year alone, Cox expects to add 60,000 new small business relationships, says Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business.
In the mid-sized business space, Cox Business has seen significant growth in hosted voice services. It has gone from little revenue three years ago to potentially reaching $50 million this year. And in the enterprise space, the company has focused on vertical markets, including healthcare, hospitality, finance, government and education. In the education market, Cox Business serves more than 50 percent of the schools within its network reach, more than 5,800 schools and libraries with nearly 4.2 million students. It provides Gigabit speeds to several school systems nationwide. Looking at hospitality, Cox has successfully expanded its reach beyond the traditional hotel space to the arena and convention center space. In December, Cox Business scored a contract with the Las Vegas Convention Center, the site of the CES trade show, to provide Internet connections. AT&T, Sprint and a third wireless carrier have signed on to launch wireless services powered by Cox on a distributed antenna system. This year, Cox partnered with MGM to provide fiber network and WiFi access in the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, Cox’s carrier business generates about $200 billion in revenue. It works with all the major carriers on backhaul, small cell, and wholesale services providing last mile connectivity. “Data connectivity is still the driver… That continues to be the anchor for all of our businesses,” says Rowley. Looking at changes in the large enterprise space, Cox is “seeing rapid and large demand for fiber-based solutions… We are seeing more sophisticated Internet solutions.”
And as the evolution of cloud services becomes more prevalent, “the need for larger connectivity for data centers and other hosted environments have become more important.” That’s also true in the mid-sized business space as companies adopt more bandwidth-intensive services.
All the changes have helped cable MSOs grow in the business market, Rowley says. In the next five years, cloud services will continue to grow quickly, creating revenue opportunities in data centers. The exec also sees security as another growth potential, with Cox just coming off of a trial integrating it with business offerings.