If the recently announced goal of Cox Business to generate $2 billion by 2015 is realized, much of that income is likely to flow from the fast-growing Cox Northern Virginia (NoVA) market.

Cox Business VP Phil Meeks shared the $2 billion goal with attendees of last week’s Light Reading conference on the Future of Cable Business Services. That’s twice the amount the unit expects to produce in 2010. (For more on Meeks’ keynote at click here.)

The target is ambitious, but believable. Despite the economic downturn, which slowed markets such as Cox Las Vegas, overall growth was strong in 2009. “Mid to high teens,” J.D. Myers, Cox Business VP for NoVA said in a separate interview. (At the Cable Show in April, Meeks had projected 16 percent for 2009, half a point down from 2008. For more, click here)

Given a 16 percent growth rate, $1 billion becomes $2.1 billion in five years.

But if all 14 Cox systems performed as well NoVA, Cox could reach that goal in half the time. “We were the number 1 growth system across the country,” Myers said. “Almost 30 percent in this particular market.”

Sweet spots

It’s not surprising that NoVA performs better than average in a down market. Metropolitan Washington D.C. is one of the most recession-proof regions in the country.

Indeed, Myers said that Cox is well positioned to serve the federal government, which over the past eight years has sought “more redundancy and diversity of locations.”

But he echoed some of Meeks’ larger themes with widespread applicability, such as the digitization of medical records and the need to connect hospitals, doctors’ offices and patient homes.

“Storage and delivering from point A to point B,” Myers said. “That’s 100 percent in our sweet spot.”

Beyond traditional connectivity and data storage and transfer, Myers insisted there are “realistic applications” already transforming home healthcare practices that the cable industry is poised to deliver.

More verticals and donuts

Myers said that his team is focused on businesses with less than 20 employees that make up such a large percentage of the “underserved” NoVA market, but he is increasingly hiring sales people who know how to serve larger clients.

The more solutions-oriented and consultative approach already is yielding results. It clearly fits some of Cox’s preferred verticals, such as the booming carrier and wholesale business.

“Almost 25 percent of my revenue comes from (cell) backhaul,” Myers said.

Other growth opportunity verticals include education, both higher ed and K-12, where the goal is to “assist them in being more efficient;” and hospitality, to which Cox NoVA now offers a 39-HD channel solution.

Last month, Cox corporate announced a standard hospitality offering that includes 24 HD channels.

Myers also said that Cox NoVA and surrounding neighbor Comcast stand as partners, not competitors. It’s a situation anticipated by CTAM, which several years ago drew up model agreement for MSOs to deliver joint services to business customers.

“Our franchise resembles a donut,” Myers said. “We’re the interior. Comcast is the exterior. We’re already interconnected.”

–Jonathan Tombes

The Daily

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