Comcast, founded by Ralph Roberts in 1963, began as a single-system cable operator in Tupelo, Mississippi, with only 1,200 subscribers. After acquiring additional cable companies, Comcast offered its first public stock in 1972, trading under the ticker symbol CMCSA. In 1978, the company exceeded $3 million in earnings for the first time. By 1988, Comcast was recognized as one of the nation's leading cable companies. International expansion began in 1994 with the inclusion of Comcast UK Cable Partners.
Since its launch, Comcast has consistently acquired other cable companies, increasing its service areas. By 1988 it had more than 2 million subscribers. The company made a founding investment in QVC in 1986 and went on to launch numerous networks -- many of them sports related. In 2014, Comcast and Time-Warner Cable announced a merger with an equity value of $45.2 billion.
In 1988, Comcast entered the cellular phone business by acquiring American Cellular Network Corp. Comcast Cellular Communications division was formed, covering a territory of 2.3 million people. Comcast eventually sold Comcast Cellular to SBC Communications in 1999 for $1.7 billion.
Comcast launched its first broadband product in 1996. In 2001, Comcast and AT&T Broadband cable systems merged to form the largest cable company in the United States, with 21.4 million subscribers. In 2013, the company became the first service provider in the world to achieve Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification for its ethernet services.