There is a rather large gap between the DSL and cable modem services employed by most residential users for high-speed Internet access and the T1 lines (and above) that businesses use for broadband. The needs of most SMBs fall somewhere squarely in the middle.
Few broadband providers have been willing or able to provide middle-ground solutions, which has resulted in the SMB market "remain(ing) the land of the underserved," writes Sean Buckley on Telecommunications Online. But there's good news, says Buckley, as competitive local-exchange carriers (CLECs) and multiple-system operators (MSOs) appear to be creating offerings geared toward SMBs.
It makes sense for MSOs such as Comcast, Cablevision and Cox to go after SMBs because much of the coaxial cable they use to connect to residences also passes through areas where SMBs are located. Buckley notes that a number of MSOs are now bundling broadband services with features like e-mail and file sharing to appeal to SMBs. Back in November, I blogged about just such an offer from Comcast, which also recently created a new Business Services division.
In addition to increased options for SMBs, Buckley notes that such moves also present opportunities for providers who might might want to purchase these types of services to better compete with cable companies and large carriers.
Buckley mentions some additional broadband options for SMBs, including offerings from Verizon.
After a round of consolidation among CLECs, they are also crafting new SMB-oriented offerings. He mentions service-based DSL from New Edge Networks as an example.