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Comcast Business VP Alan Goldsmith Outlines Bright Future for Connectivity in the Golden State

Alan Goldsmith, Comcast Business Vice President, Comcast California

Optimistic, cosmopolitan and growth-minded, Alan Goldsmith is a perfect match for California’s sunny climate and diverse, vibrant culture.

Born in the U.K., Goldsmith holds a B.A. in European Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Goldsmith led sales organizations and grew customer bases in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe before landing at Comcast in 2020. He served as Oregon and Southwest Washington regional vice president for Comcast Business until 2022, when he was tapped to lead the division’s California region.

Goldsmith’s tenure coincides with a flurry of investments from Comcast in its network. Over the past three years, Comcast has invested $3.8 billion into technology and network infrastructure improvements in California alone. In March, the company announced speed upgrades for millions of Comcast Xfinity Internet customers at no additional cost.

To learn more about Comcast’s plans to elevate connectivity for California businesses, Pete Casillas, publisher and Bay Area market president for the San Francisco Business Times, recently sat down with Goldsmith. Their interview, reproduced below, has been edited and condensed for clarity.

What attracted you to this opportunity? What are some of the challenges?

I’m a big believer in California. It’s a very dynamic place. It’s one of the largest markets in which we operate. Industries are born here and it’s where innovation happens. You’re seeing that with AI now, for example.

It’s also a very complex place to operate in. The competition is just so much more intense here than anywhere else. To me, that represents a tremendous amount of opportunity because the marketplace here is continuously changing us. I think that to learn and bring value to our customers nationally, we need to first learn how to do things here. Typically, things that happen in California happen later in the rest of the country, so as a business, we need to learn how to evolve here first.

How would you describe your leadership style? How does it lend itself to this opportunity to drive innovation and expansion in California?

I have a growth mindset. I’m always thinking about how we can innovate and bring more value to our customers, and I try to instill that in our team. I’m also a firm believer in trying new things. Think of the expression “fail fast.” You try something, and if it doesn’t work, you learn from it and then you move on to the next. Obviously, when you go big, you want to get it right the first time. But there’s room to experiment in more contained conditions.

I also believe in getting out there in the field to engage with our employees, our customers, and the broader community. While it’s important to be able to speak with customers about enterprise solutions and their broader business goals, it’s also critical to understand the needs and goals of smaller businesses as well. Sometimes I’ll go knocking on doors with our sales reps, which I find is a great way to really understand what’s happening on the ground and at a very local level. People tell you things. You engage with people in a very different way.

For those who don’t know what Comcast Business does, what kind of tools, products and services does your organization provide customers in the Bay Area?

We offer a suite of connectivity and related technology solutions for small businesses to up to Fortune 50 enterprises. For small businesses, our solutions are centered around connectivity, primarily broadband, WiFi, TV and mobile. On the enterprise side, we offer sophisticated data networking, SD-WAN, enterprise cloud, unified communications, business TV, cybersecurity and managed solutions. Our enterprise customers might have hundreds of sites that need to be activated globally and managed. They might want dedicated, end-to-end fiber connections to the cloud. We also firmly believe in the human element of our products and services, positioning as many resources near the customer as possible.

Cybersecurity is top of mind for many business customers. What is Comcast doing to reassure them about the security of their data?

We understand that we are the first line of defense against harmful cyberattacks, and we take that responsibility very seriously. The Comcast network detected 23.5 billion cybersecurity attacks across our vast pool of security customers in 2022. Small and medium businesses are three times more likely to be the victim of a cyberattack.

Smart, real-time and customizable, Comcast Business SecurityEdge protects all connected devices on our customers’ networks from malware, phishing scams, ransomware and botnet attacks. Every day, SecurityEdge blocks millions of instances of malicious bot activity and attempts to access malware-equipped websites. It also detects tens of thousands of phishing attempts.

As you know, San Francisco is going through a revitalization of sorts — the Business Times calls it a “reset.” How is Comcast Business contributing to the resurgence of business in the city?

As a key driver of trends in tech and in biosciences, San Francisco is an innovative hub, and there’s a lot of creativity on display here. We’re actively involved in the community to support that.

Last year, we donated $25,000 to the Oakland Metro Chamber of Commerce to help support their revitalization efforts in downtown Oakland, where the announcement was made at an event, we hosted for diverse small businesses to come together and learn from each other. So, we try to create spaces for these businesses to interact and get the support that they need.

Through our initiative called Project UP, we’re advancing digital equity and helping build a future of unlimited possibilities. We’re connecting people to the internet, advancing economic mobility, providing digital literacy opportunities, and opening doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers and creators in the Bay Area.

Additionally, through a project called Comcast RISE, we’re awarding grants packages that include business consultation services, educational resources, monetary grants, creative production services, media scheduling, and a technology makeover. This supports the growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs committed to uplifting their local Bay Area communities.

The San Francisco Bay Area is a critical market for us, nationally. Our infrastructure is here, and we want to make sure that that infrastructure is utilized. We’ll always be here in San Francisco, along with our commitment to the community. We actively work with customers in the Bay Area to provide business class solutions to them. We’re currently rolling out speed increases to our business customers to increase download and upload speeds. Our goal is to ultimately achieve symmetrical speeds across our entire network.

Since 2018, Comcast has spent more than $20 billion on development and infrastructure to ensure that Xfinity has customers covered now and into the future. Visit our website to learn how Comcast’s innovative 10G network is delivering an exceptional internet experience with multi-gig speeds, low latency and the nation’s largest network of Wi-Fi hotspots.

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