Comcast Brings Metro Ethernet Services To The Channel

Craig Schlagbaum, vice president of Indirect Channel Sales at Comcast Business Services, said channel partners can target midsized businesses by offering them fast and cost-effective Ethernet services to access the cloud.

“I believe [Ethernet is] certainly the most sexy offering for the solution provider channel because it allows them to provide solutions that their clients need to really move their applications to the cloud,” said Schlagbaum. “In Ethernet, you’re really doubling down on the last mile, and that connectivity to the cloud is critical for the experience that the end users have.”

But because Ethernet services can be tricky to understand and to quote, Comcast opted for a slow launch of its Metro Ethernet package, electing to work initially with a select number of partners before opening the service up to all of its channel partners.

“We want to grow based on how well we can support the partner experience and the ease of doing business. My expectation is we’ll make this fully available to as many partners as want to participate in time, but we need to debug and optimize the program and the support processes over the next six months,” Schlagbaum said.

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Solution providers who sell Comcast Metro Ethernet services would be supported by nationwide channel managers, whether they partner directly with Comcast or through a master agent. Comcast also provides training in how to sell and quote these services and, most importantly, how to understand and meet clients’ connectivity needs.

“The solution providers need to be very involved in that process, effectively acting as more of a ‘cloud network engineer’ to ensure that the right connectivity through Ethernet services is put in place, so the client has the right experience. That is why solution providers are going to need to know all about these services because they can’t participate really well in the cloud without knowing how the last mile works. So our program is all designed to help people make that pivot, and to help them earn commissions for doing so,” Schlagbaum said.

Originally launched in May for the direct sales market, Comcast’s Metro Ethernet network boasts 147,000 miles of fiber in 20 major metro markets in 39 states. The service leverages Comcast’s physically diverse network and can grow in increments from 1 Mbps to 10 Gbps. Metro Ethernet is available in four levels of service: Ethernet Dedicated Internet Service, Ethernet Private Line Service, Ethernet Virtual Private Line Service, and Ethernet Network Service.

Channel partners will be able to sell Comcast’s Ethernet services through one of three master agents that Comcast has contracted with -- Intellisys, TBI and Tellarus. Comcast launched its Business Class Solutions Providers Program last March.

In addition to partnering with master agents, Comcast has also partnered directly with Crystal Technologies, Total Communications, Interactive Telecom Solutions, Telegration, Simplify, GCG, Lightstream, Bridgepointe , and CTG3.