Comcast’s recent third-quarter profit reported that revenues from its line of home Internet service had reached an all-time high. The numbers don’t look good if you’re a Comcast investor. For one thing Comcast admitted in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it had become “increasingly disappointed” with the performance of its cable services. Then there’s the subscriber base: As competition from cable rivals like Time Warner Cable grows, Comcast faces increasing pressure to boost its offerings.
But what does Comcast’s new program, the Comcast Rise, really mean for the company? Is it enough to stem the tide of competition? What types of businesses are truly impacted by the Comcast Rise? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Comcast program and look at what impact it might have on the company’s future.
Comcast Rise is the name of a Comcast-backed organization that was created to help minority and women-owned and operated businesses. Comcast’s investment fund, the Comcast Rise Investment Fund, announced a third-quarter profit that was up 32 percent year over year. This represents a significant shift from the past, when Comcast got into a fierce bidding war with Time Warner Cable for the home Internet market. At the time, Comcast said that it was focused on other areas including its television and digital cable businesses.
But broadband Internet has matured since then, and Comcast needs to realize that its customers – and those of its competitors – are no longer buying Compaqs and PCs. So the Comcast Rise initiative is really more of an exercise in branding. Comcast wants to make its branding image stand out above the rest, and the timing for this is now. This is basically a strategic move meant to position Comcast as a leader in the technology marketplace.
The second initiative within Comcast’s strategy is five cities, one each in the United States, UK, Australia, Singapore, and China. In a joint venture with Chinese companies, Comcast will be investing in and supporting five new technology services for small businesses across the globe. These initiatives will bring together the business community and technology and communications industries to leverage their collective strength.
Comcast Rise also includes several new technologies that are designed to make communications more accessible, scalable, and cost effective. The new Internet Protocol (IP) video service called X1 Voice Remote will allow small business owners to streamline their video intercom systems, allowing them to expand their service to their customers from any Internet connection, not just their broadband connection. The company’s new Streamlined Payment Processing System, or SPPS, will allow businesses to process credit card payments at any ATM, without having to change machines.
Comcast Rise also includes several new features that are designed to make its bundled services more attractive to small businesses. The company has reached agreements with Cisco, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, and Fujitsu to integrate their new enterprise resource planning solutions, or ERP, into the Comcast suite of cable services. The new Covid-19 Pandemic Intelligence Center will provide small businesses with real-time business intelligence. This data will include detailed market and financial information, customer base, and staffing and employee details. The company has also reached agreements with Fujitsu, Cisco, and Microsoft to integrate their unified communications infrastructure, or USI, for small businesses.
Finally, Comcast Rise will feature expanded diversity reporting initiatives, which will allow it to better serve and benefit the business community and continue to meet the diversified needs of today and tomorrow. The initiative brings Comcast closer to achieving its vision of being the city of choice for Americans by offering easy access to digital and Internet services. This is part of the company’s broader strategy of building on its leadership in broadband innovation. It is hoped that the initiatives will stimulate more venture capital and more innovative business owners to take advantage of Comcast’s unique position in an increasingly digital marketplace.