Cable operators continue to find plenty of fruit hanging on the small and medium business services vine. And as 2014 dawns and the coming introduction of DOCSIS 3.1, it looks like many MSOs will be looking to ramp up those offerings. A recent study conducted by CableFAX and Accedian found that while nearly 94% of participants said they use cable modems today to service businesses with 20 or less employees today, fiber/PON is expected to serve the vast majority of these customers in the future.

More than 73% of survey participants expected to serve small business with fiber/PON in the future vs 51% today. “I would say for the last 2 years they’ve contemplated ways to reach the DOCSIS plant in more specifically reaching the … more remote branches that aren’t within their fiber footprint, but are somewhat close or within their DOCSIS footprint,” said Accedian CEO, Patrick Ostiguy.

That’s where Accedian comes in with the upcoming "antMODULE," essentially a clip-on product for existing cable modems—small NIDS that sit behind the modem and has an integrated way to effectively monitor the network remotely. Accedian already has a few US customers, but most are working with the vendor on their fiber plant and wholesale services.

Time is an issue in this space, with nearly 78% of respondents saying that the top issues that impact achieving accelerated SMB install is deployment and availability of a carrier Ethernet network, the survey found. Companies like Accedian and Ciena are hoping to attract clients by offering products that can be installed easily by the customers themselves—no need for truck rolls.

As far as the business services space in general, Comcast Business svp Terry Connell has outlined several trends to watch for in ’14, including WiFi usage going through the roof for small businesses as they woo customers with the convenience of a wireless connection for their devices. He also believes video service is increasingly becoming part of a SMBs’ needs, keeping employees informed and happy.

The growing number of tablets, WiFi usage, cloud apps, etc, will make bandwidth/speed a key priority for ’14. “SMBs need to have enough capacity and speed to not only handle all of their traffic today, but also have enough capacity/speed to handle tomorrow’s demands. A timely example of this is the increased web traffic during the holidays for an SMB that does e-commerce,” he said. “Companies will get smarter in 2014 by proactively adding extra bandwidth and speed to anticipate significant spikes in traffic.”
 

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