Cox Business has joined a group of cable operators and telcos that have tailored their commercial service offerings to support a remote workforce that has been expanding during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cox Business's new Work-at-Home offering features an enterprise-grade, separate Internet connection to the home, along with other services, including in-home Wi-Fi and cybersecurity services that protect endpoints and mitigate malware threats. The offering also provides a suite of à la carte conferencing and collaboration services, including Microsoft 365 (via Cox's RapidScale cloud services division) and Cox Business Complete Care, a troubleshooting service for PCs, laptops and other gear).
The new Work from Home offerings are similar to Cox Business's traditional services for small and midsized companies. But the big twist is that work-at-home employees can now add a commercial line and, rather than that service being billed to and paid by the individual, it would all be handled by the individual's company.
Cox Business is one of a growing number of service providers to add or enhance work-at-home capabilities to their commercial services lineup. Of recent note, Comcast Business introduced a similar offering that simplifies and streamlines service deployment and billing for at-home workers, while AT&T has launched a new service called Home Office Connectivity that takes a similar approach with enterprise-class services along with failover capabilities.
Those new options are emerging as the entire US commercial services sector feels pressure from a pandemic that has forced some businesses to close down offices and other locations, turn off some services temporarily and, generally, support a much larger remote workforce.
Adding that support is a big deal for Cox and other US MSOs because business services remains a growth engine for the entire cable industry. Cox is privately held and does not disclose financial data on a quarterly basis, but the company confirmed that its business services division is currently pulling down revenues of about $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion per year.
Comcast CFO Mike Cavanaugh discussed how the pandemic is impacting the cable operator during a discussion last week at a Credit Suisse conference that was hosted online. While Comcast's business service revenues have been growing in the high single-digit to double-digit percentage range in recent years, the pace is expected to drop down to the single-digit mark in Q2 2020, he said.
"So, no surprise there," he said. "If you're operating a site that has to remain closed because social distancing doesn't allow it to open, there's no green shoots there until meaningful opening … becomes possible across a big base."
However, other commercial customers are leaning more heavily on digital orderings and transforming their businesses in a remote and digital way. "So, it's a bifurcated story," Cavanaugh said.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading