By Malathi Nayak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comcast Corp has set up a new business services division to sell broadband, Wi-Fi, ethernet and other services to large companies in the Fortune 1000 list, hoping to attract new revenue, the U.S. cable and Internet provider said on Wednesday.
The new "Enterprise Services" unit will be under the company's Comcast Business division, which currently offers services to small-to-medium businesses, Comcast said in a statement. Comcast Business is now targeting companies with large revenue figures and is taking on rivals in the business services market, such as wireless companies AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc.
Unlike residential customers who may switch to satellite or telephone players, businesses typically sign long-term contracts, bringing in steady sales. Moreover, the push to grab more business clients reflects how cable companies are searching for new growth as their traditional business, selling TV services to residential clients, matures.
Over the last six to nine months, Comcast has signed up 25 to 30 customers with $45 million in contracts, Bill Stemper, president of Comcast Business, said in an interview.
Big banks are part of the list, he said without providing details.
Comcast, the largest U.S. cable operator, reported business services revenue, which includes sales to companies of broadband Internet, voice lines and network services, of $4 billion in 2014, up 22 percent from a year earlier. Its cable business was up 1.2 percent last year to $20.8 billion.
"We have that $1 billion mark in our mind" for the new enterprise services unit, Stemper said. "In five to six years (the unit) should be starting to get to that level."
Comcast, which offers services in 39 states and the District of Columbia, will serve business customers in areas where it is absent, such as Los Angeles and New York City, through partnerships with other Internet providers such as Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications, Stemper said.
(Reporting by Malathi Nayak)