Spectrum Enterprise will spend more than $1 billion this year, primarily to add to its national fiber network and invest in a better customer experience, the MSO announced today.
Parent company Charter Communications -- which invested the same amount in Spectrum Enterprise last year -- views Spectrum Enterprise as a strong opportunity whose core business is growing at 11% annually with "north of $2 billion in annual revenue," Phil Meeks, executive vice president and president of Spectrum Enterprise, told Broadband World News.
Already, Spectrum Enterprise has almost 200,000 fiber-lit buildings, he said.
"Certainly by the end of the year, we'll have exceeded that objective," Meeks added. "We have good, sustainable growth now and good sustainable growth in the future."
Although competition for Fortune 1000 enterprises is abundant -- and growing -- Spectrum Enterprise's mix of fiber-to-the-premise, cloud, networking, infrastructure-design and managed services delivers a combination difficult for traditional system integrators or service providers to provide, said Meeks. Today, Spectrum Enterprise has about 7% penetration, he said (not counting Navisite and cell tower backhaul), giving the operator plenty of opportunities.
With more large businesses dependent on their networks for running operations and differentiation, they're seeking partners that provide more than fast pipes, he said.
"We are both a pipe provider as well as a cloud provider, so we are fairly unique in the industry in being one company that can provide managed services, cloud-based services as well as networking capabilities," Meeks said.
That means leveraging technologies such as SD-WAN -- Spectrum Enterprise, which debuted a proof-of-concept SD-WAN in early June 2017, expects to release a commercial SD-WAN product by the end of this year -- as well as virtualized services, and knowing how to use fiber to supplement additional infrastructure, Meeks said. With the imminent advent of 5G, dense fiber-meshed networks are critically important, he noted, and this year's $1 billion investment helps Spectrum Enterprise (and Charter) advance its 5G plans.
Targeting the Fortune 1000
"We're less than 7% penetrated in what we view the current market opportunity to be, therefore I don't think it's an unrealistic expecation to believe we'll continue to grow that in the foreseeable future based on continue investment by Charter and continued execution by Spectrum Enterprise" — Phil Meeks, Spectrum Enterprise
Spectrum Enterprise also plans to waive upfront costs of fiber construction for most new large-business clients within its footprint, a move that's expected to give more enterprises access to fiber-based solutions including fiber-Internet access, Ethernet and voice trunks (SIP/PRI). By absorbing these upfront costs based on findings from the company's financial-modeling tool, fiber-based broadband becomes more attractive to an entire office building's residents, said Meeks.
The customer is always first
As part of its investment, Spectrum Enterprise is deploying new tools, training and resources designed to improve customer experience.
"The best path forward for us is through enhanced and differentiated client experiences," Meeks said.
The MSO's Client Experience team is using a mix of client surveys -- with strict follow-up, he stressed -- along with data analytics and qualitative research.
"We have invested millions of dollars into the analytics and the survey work. We're also, from a development perspective, continuing to invest in portals, continuing to invest in training of our employees, to ensure that every action we take and every piece of data we have and every piece of data we share in portals achieves the objective of continuing to elevate the client experience," Meeks said. "It's critically important for us."
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