By Bill Stemper, President, Comcast Business
One of the most important benefits of our transactions with Time Warner Cable and Charter will be providing our services to more businesses and the introduction of increased competition among communications companies, resulting in innovation and cutting edge products and services.
These benefits are real and quantifiable. For example, the combined reach of the Comcast and TWC networks bring many benefits to enterprise customers – including the ability to link multiple offices spread across major markets like San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Boston, or Philadelphia. In total, we expect to generate almost $8 billion in price reductions due to our competitive entry in the enterprise business segment through the TWC transaction.
Nearly 600 thoughtful and positive comments from a wide range of supporters – including business organizations, businesses, programmers, diversity groups and community partners, academics and public policy leaders, and state and local leaders – have been submitted to the FCC about our proposed transaction, in large part because of the increased investment, innovation, and competition it will generate.
In Texas, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce stated that the "businesses and consumers of Fort Worth would benefit from access to these top-of-the-line services, and by approving the proposed transaction, the FCC could allow Fort Worth to catch up to current Comcast markets."
In Chicago, a technology incubator called 1871 is expanding to accommodate more than the 250 small companies it currently serves. Its clients demand industry-leading Internet speed and stability, so their CEO wrote to the FCC and said that fortunately, Comcast "has provided critical services to keep work and innovation flowing."
In San Francisco, a tech firm called Nextdoor focuses on creating local social networks to improve community safety and relationships. Nextdoor’s CEO and Co-Founder explained that, "Comcast has proven to be a leading innovator in its industry and a strong and steady partner to startups like ours."
And small, local businesses like Ron Bill Auto Body in Monessen, Pennsylvania have found themselves supporting the transaction, based on the seamless service they have experienced in comparison with other options. After many frustrations with his previous Internet service provider, "I switched to Comcast Business," Ron Bill writes. "Since then, Comcast has delivered superior services that are faster, more reliable, and more secure than those provided by my previous provider."
These types of small- and medium-sized businesses are the job-creating heartbeat of the American economy, and based on their experience with Comcast, these entrepreneurs know that together with TWC, Comcast will be able to offer these benefits to even more businesses throughout America.
Since launching Comcast Business in 2006, we have been a disruptor in the business services market by bringing an entrepreneurial spirit and innovative products to business customers of all sizes. But, in 2013, Comcast and TWC had a combined share of only about 10-15 percent of the market for small- and medium-sized businesses. We’re committed to helping businesses of all sizes and types succeed and grow with our TWC transaction.
Small businesses will see faster Internet speeds to tackle the data-intensive activities like video conferencing with partners and prospective clients, running a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, or developing and testing new applications in the cloud. Our groundbreaking Ethernet@Home service will bring enterprise-grade Ethernet capabilities to small businesses in TWC markets that work with sensitive data and want to extend private links to that data to employees at home. Small, private financial services firms or healthcare organizations will have a solution for providing great customer service to clients and patients wherever they need it.
We will also offer TWC customers the fastest Wi-Fi with the most range. Research has shown how important Wi-Fi is to small businesses – in a 2014 survey of more than 600 small business IT decision makers, 65 percent reported that offering Wi-Fi encouraged repeat business, and 55 percent said it brings in new customers. The same survey indicates that 93 percent of these small businesses believe providing Wi-Fi enhances employee productivity.
In response to these trends, we have unveiled the Comcast Business Wireless Gateway, which provides both private and public Wi-Fi – from a single device – while using separate networks for added security. This is a great way for small businesses to deliver private Wi-Fi for their employees while separately offering public Wi-Fi to their customers.
In addition to better Internet and Wi-Fi, we will offer enhanced phone services throughout TWC territories, with "be anywhere" call features and a cutting-edge mobile app, to help businesses be more efficient. Mobility-focused phone service can help small businesses that are trying to cover more ground every day. For example, Pfeifer Industries, a Chicago-area manufacturer of timing belt pulleys, is a 10-employee small business with customers across the U.S. They rely on inbound calls to generate sales and provide customer support. Pfeifer uses Comcast Business VoiceEdge, a cloud-based phone system, to make sure that employees don’t miss a call from customers even if they are away from their desk.
With this transaction, our combined networks will also help small businesses take that next step in their growth plans using a combined network footprint and a more seamless experience from a single service provider with 24/7/365 support and unified billing. We hope to make it easier for a small, Los Angeles-based law firm to open a second office in Washington, D.C., or a tech startup in Austin to establish a presence in San Francisco, or a chef-owner in Manhattan to open a new restaurant in Philadelphia or Boston.
Robert Irvine, the celebrity chef, restauranteur, and small business advisor, has said that the restaurant industry needs to change as technology evolves, and that technology is a competitive differentiator, allowing businesses to track inventory, accept online reservations and offer high-speed Internet to patrons. "The restaurant industry has been set in its ways for a long time, but this ‘old school’ mentality has to change if restaurant owners want to be successful in a technology-focused world," Irvine commented. Products like faster Internet and Wi-Fi and innovative phone service, combined with a more seamless support from a single provider could be a huge boost to restaurants in competitive culinary hubs like New York and Los Angeles that are looking to grow.
Our view is that technology helps smaller businesses compete better with larger firms and is an engine for business growth. Many companies have gone on the record to voice their support for this transaction, and once it closes, Comcast will offer more advanced and innovative products to business customers throughout the combined footprint with greater scale – and that means operational efficiencies to better serve our business customers both large and small.