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Very quietly, Cisco announced that nation’s largest Comcast will be using its CRS-1 routers for its national broadband backbone. CRS-1 will the backbone of Comcast’s integrated national delivery platform for broadband, communications, video entertainment and future cross-platform services. Comcast, as you might remember had bought more than $100 million worth of dark fiber from Level 3, mostly to connect its 21 million odd customers in 35 states. But this just might be the first announcement from Comcast.
The cable giant, also announced a new Internet division much like Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Interactive Media. Comcast veteran Amy Banse, who has been serving as Executive Vice President of Content Development, will become President of Comcast Interactive Media, reporting to Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke, and Samuel Schwartz will join her as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Development.
The press release doesn’t really say anything, but in a larger scheme of thing, this is a pretty serious development. Comcast will be spending dollars on new technologies and start-ups. So folks, get your tickets to Philly, and start loving the Eagles. Thus far, the company has dabbled in Internet services such as video email, but hasn’t really made an emphatic play like say SBC and Verizon have in tandem with Yahoo. Its Comcast.net page clearly needs some serious help. The company will be trying to enhance the value to its plain vanilla broadband service. Like other broadband service providers, Comcast doesn’t want to be reduced to being a “bit pipe.”
Fox’s move into the Internet space, though inspired by the recent boom in online advertising, has others scrambling to respond. At one point Comcast wanted to buy a piece of AOL, but apparently that is not happening. Microsoft and Time Warner are doing the tango for now. Irony of this development: it comes just days after Andy Kessler skewered Brian Roberts & Company!