Exclusive: Comcast casts its lot with OpenStack

Updated: Comcast(s cmcsa), the nation’s largest cable company, is now aboard the OpenStack cloud effort having joined the OpenStack Foundation as a member, a Comcast spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday. That’s a big win for for OpenStack before the Foundation’s big coming out party at the OpenStack Summit next week in San Diego.

Update: There’s a bit of confusion among the principals about Comcast’s OpenStack role.  A spokeswoman for the cable company said it’s aboard the foundation. An OpenStack spokeswoman said it’s participating in the community but is not on the foundation. Stay tuned for an update. 

And here is the aforementioned updated update: Comcast corrected its earlier statement. It is an OpenStack member, not an OpenStack Foundation member.

Depending on deliverables, this new addition could be a big deal given Comcast’s huge broadband reach more than 18 million households and thousands of small businesses it supports with broadband Internet and phone services.

Comcast is not totally alien to OpenStack. Comcast Ventures, led a recent $25 million investment round in Nebula, the cloud computing company founded by former NASA CTO Chris Kemp, an OpenStack pioneer.

And, Ryan King, CTO and VP of Comcast Silicon Valley, which is building Comcast’s next generation Cloud TV platform, will speak at the summit. King’s group is developing open-source technology that is compatible with Amazon’s(s amzn) Simple Notification Service (SNS) and Simple Queue Service (SQS). He is seeking the community’s input on that effort, which might be contributed to the OpenStack cause.

Comcast is also working with Cisco(s csco) on an array of potential applications that would use the open-source cloud technology, Cisco CTO Lew Tucker told me in an interview Thursday.

“Comcast is becoming a very interesting company — it’s increasingly moving content onto the web to and from multiple devices so they have this collaboration with us,” said Tucker, who is also vice chairman of the OpenStack Foundation.

AT&T(s t), another big service provider is also a big contributor to the OpenStack effort, which aims to offer scalable infrastructure that can be deployed in private or public clouds.

OpenStack is all about vendor momentum with backing from IT powers Rackspace(s rax), IBM(s ibm), HP(s hpq), Cisco, Intel(s intc), NEC, Red Hat(s rhat) and others. The addition of big service providers like Comcast can help it gain traction with actual end users.