Google Fiber Going Wireless

gf.jpgMountain View, Calif - Google took steps this week to speed-up nationwide deployment of its Google Fiber service through the acquisition of wireless ISP WebPass.

The wireless provider already offers service at Gigabit speeds in markets such as Miami, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley and San Diego. In addition to offering wireless connectivity to homes and businesses in these areas it also provides backhaul service through its own integrated Ethernet network. Acquisition of these networks would help Google to more rapidly expand its own fiber-based service which currently operates in Atlanta, Kansas City, Provo, Nashville and Austin, Texas.

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Guess How Long it Takes Windstream to Forward One Number...

I don't know what it is about airplane reservations that cause my customer's phone systems to break but every time I'm about to leave for the airport on a business trip one of my client's old phone systems die.

So my customer uses Windstream to trunk an ancient Lucent phone system and it seems the line card in the Lucent has died because my customer's employees can call each other on the different extensions but they can't call out and calls to their main number get a fast busy.

The customer called Windstream first and Windstream stated they were getting a clear signal to their equipment but the customer's phone system did not seem to be responding. 

So the customer emailed me the ticket number and I asked her if she wanted me to have Windstream call forward her main number to a temporary voicemail box that would take a message, transcribe it and then email it to her. She said that would be great since we didn't know how long it would take to fix the phone system.

So I called the repair number on the Windstream bill at 7am Eastern on a Tuesday. The recording says my expected wait time is 8 minutes. 

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WTG's 2016 Tee & Sea Report

I had the pleasure of attending WTG's annual "Tee & Sea" event May 11 - 13 and following is an overview.

The event agenda & the major event sponsors. It's always enlightening to see which vendors are picking up the tab for the agents to learn & play for three days.

Agents at the first day vendor seminars. the guy in the bottom right reflects the general opinion of many agents after the tenth vendor in a row says "It's our customer service & people that make us unique among our competitors!"

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CWA Strike Hits AT&T West Coast Operations (UPDATED)

12.jpgSAN DIEGO - Approximately 4,000 union workers throughout the State of California have gone on strike, according to The Communications Workers of America.

Although the CWA settled a much larger contract dispute with AT&T Mobility this past week, some employees in California have still not agreed to terms and are striking in part as a protest against what they categorize as unfair labor practices. The main dispute seems to center around CWA AT&T employees being reassigned to other duties without any prior notification to their union.

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Master Agent Recovers "Lost" Commissions

alan-sandler.jpgLOS ANGELES - Sandler Partners, America’s fastest growing distributor of connectivity and cloud services, announced today that its groundbreaking Commissions Integrity Program, which proactively audits commissions and SPIFF payments to its agent partners, has recovered $2 million for agent partners since the program was introduced in January 2013. Unlike the commissions recovery programs of other master agencies that require agents to report missing compensation, the Sandler Partners program proactively audits commission payments on behalf of its partners.

“We are fortunate to be working with the best agents in the business,” said Alan Sandler, founder and managing partner of Sandler Partners. “When you’re working with the best, you want them to be able to focus on growing their businesses and taking care of their customers, not being caught in the trap of having to earn their commissions twice — first selling the customer and again when they have to hound their master agency to track down their payments.

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Telarus Adds California RVP

jay-littleford.pngSANDY, Utah - Telarus, Inc., master agent of business data, voice, cloud, and data center services, today announced it has hired industry-veteran, Jay Littleford, as its new regional vice president of California. In this role, Littleford will be in charge of helping existing Telarus partners expand their business, as well as recruiting new partners. Littleford comes to Telarus with more than 16 years of industry experience working for Level 3, Windstream, TelePacific, Integra (Electric Lightwave), and CenturyLink.

“We are excited to welcome Jay Littleford to our team,” says Doug Tolley, SVP of sales for Telarus. “Jay is a seasoned veteran who understand how to attract top-selling partners and help them develop strategies to grow their business. From his time at both Level 3 and Windstream, we have been able to see first-hand how effective he is on sales performance as a result of his relentless focus on partner satisfaction. That, combined with his brilliant technical understanding of the products we sell, will be a huge asset for our partners in California.”

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Telecom Brokers Adds Channel Partner

nancy-ridge.jpgSAN DIEGO - Telecom Brokers' portfolio of leading edge technology providers just got a little bigger today. The Orange County based telecommunications consulting firm has been steadily growing since 1998. The addition of Effortless signals not only a new partnership for the two companies, but also shows Telecom Brokers' readiness to fuel the steady uptick in business' desire to offload the IT department's routine tasks like adding new users, upgrading software, and making simple changes to the individual users in the company. The private all-in-the-cloud model Effortless provides is one their clients claim not only saves them money on staffing, but adds additional security and freedoms they never thought possible. 

Nancy Ridge, Executive Vice President of Telecom Brokers said, "one of the key areas Telecom Brokers and its partners serve is the SMB market. They represent one of the biggest segments of our business yet have been under-served by cloud providers. Effortless will fill that need. They bring the technology, the know-how and the focus to our SMB customers."

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Windstream Names New Ops SVP

beth-lackey.pngLITTLE ROCK – Windstream (NASDAQ: WIN), a leading provider of advanced network communications, today announced that Beth A. Lackey has been appointed senior vice president of carrier operations. In this new role - specifically created to support the company's ongoing commitment to providing an exceptional experience for its carrier and wholesale customers - Lackey will oversee service delivery, service assurance, and the customer experience team for the carrier business unit.

As Windstream continues expanding and enhancing its network, Lackey will lead and guide initiatives to assess current internal business processes, analyzing the results in order to build and implement efficiencies that enhance the overall carrier customer experience - from order entry to the ongoing service of customers.

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Telarus Adds RingCentral Via Channel

Patrick Oborn of TelarusBELMONT, Calif. - RingCentral (NYSE:RNG), a leading provider of cloud business communication and collaboration solutions, today announced its new master agent partnership with Telarus, a market leader for distribution of network, unified communications and cloud services. The announcement comes on the heels of RingCentral’s Q1 2016 earnings results, which showed significant year-over-year performance growth, driven in part by the company’s strongest quarter ever from the indirect channel. With the addition of Telarus to its partner program, RingCentral aims to build on the great channel momentum it has already established in 2016.

“There has been an inflection point in the market where larger enterprise customers are starting to demand cloud solutions like never before,” said Patrick Oborn, co-founder of Telarus. “Our partners have asked for RingCentral, as they are committed to providing market-leading UC services and solutions to their customers. We are thrilled to add RingCentral to our supplier portfolio."

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CNSG 2016 Partner Forum & Golf Tournament

CNSG Golf EventIt's almost time for CNSG's Partner Forum & Golf Tournament! Spaces are filling up quick! Make sure you register today...This is the event that you don't want to miss!

http://www.cvent.com/d/qfqsgc/6X


Verizon Strike Getting Nasty

cut-cable.jpgNEW YORK - A strike at Verizon's wireline division by two separate unions is now dragging into its third week with both sides leveling a series of accusations against each other in the media. Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) voted to go on strike in April after failing to reach a new contract with the carrier. Wages, benefits and the movement of jobs offshore are said to be the main concern of the two unions as the company looks to downsize its copper-based network.

Last week, the carrier announced that it was aggressively investigating a rash of service interruptions to customers that it claimed were the direct result of sabotage. There have been at least 49 such incidents since the beginning of the strike where as during a normal year the carrier said it might average 11 such incidents. Although not directly blamed for the incidents, the CWA released a counter statement denying any knowledge and instead blaming the network outages on Verizon for poor maintenance of its facilities.

This week the CWA has began making its own accusations against the company, filing a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission stating that Verizon is forcing wireline customers to move from copper to fiber-based delivery in violation of FCC regulations. The complaint was co-signed by a number of consumer interest and lobbying groups such as Common Cause, Public Knowledge, USAction and Citizen Action of New York.

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CNSG Adds Channel Sales Director


anne-brogan.jpgCHARLOTTE -
Converged Network Services Group (CNSG), the Premier Master Agency for Cloud, Connectivity, and Cloud Enablement is pleased to announce the hiring of Anne Brogan as Director, Channel Sales in CNSG’s Atlanta office.

Anne comes to CNSG with over two decades of telecommunications experience in the partner channel. Holding positions in areas of business development, sales, marketing and network operations. She has also been a proven cultivator of national and regional channel growth, as well as a passionate and effective communicator and partner resource.

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CNSG Adds BCN Services

randy-friedberg.jpgCHARLOTTE - Converged Network Services Group (CNSG), the premier master agent for Cloud, Connectivity, and Cloud Enablement, and BCN, a privately held and management owned non-facilities based CLEC have announced their partnership.

Recognized as a channel-friendly telecommunications provider with more than 75 unique wholesale network providers, BCN offers a single-source solution for custom-configured, flawlessly provisioned and meticulously maintained voice, data, wireless, and cloud services. Together with CNSG, BCN will engage and enable more telecom agents to define and deliver advanced connectivity solutions that bring simplicity to inherently complex multi-location, multi-network opportunities.

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MicroCorp Adds New Partner Manager

DavidBurgeson.pngMARIETTA, Ga - MicroCorp, a distributor of commercial data, voice, UC, security and data center services, announced today that it has named David Burgeson as its new Strategic Partner Manager to lead sales and business development efforts in the company’s rapidly growing Texas and southwest territories.

Burgeson joins MicroCorp following a deep career in the channel as both a partner and provider. Burgeson’s channel experience began as Director of Business Development for Louisiana-based solution provider, Global Data Systems. He then spent more than ten years with industry-leading providers. Most notably, are his 8 years with Time Warner Cable, rising through the ranks to lead the agent channel in the Texas market.

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Verizon Strike Causing Provisioning Delays

strike.jpgNEW YORK - A strike among wireline workers at Verizon Communications has resulted in a backlog of installation orders and provisioning requests. On Wednesday, April 13th nearly 40,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communications Workers of America (CWA) walked out on their Verizon jobs in protest of stalled contract negotiations. Sticking points for the unions seem to include issues such as healthcare, temporary job relocations, pensions and offshoring call center jobs.

While the company conceded that there was a "bit of a delay" in fulfilling orders, the company claims to have brought in a temporary non-union workforce of approximately 20,000 personnel to help ease the backlog and hopes to resume installations within the next week. 

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FirstLight Fiber Joins Intelisys

rick_ribas.jpgALBANY, New York  - FirstLight Fiber a leading fiber-optic bandwidth infrastructure services provider operating in New York and Northern New England, announced today its new partnership with Intelisys Communications, Inc., the nation's leading Technology Services Distributor. This new agreement will give Intelisys' Sales Partners full access to FirstLight's complete portfolio of data, Internet, data center and voice services, which are backed by strong, locally-based service and support.

Consideration for the Intelisys Supplier Partner portfolio requires that vendor and carrier candidates meet strict criteria. FirstLight successfully met those requirements on several merits, offering competitive pricing, a wide breadth of service offerings and strong support in both pre- and post-sale situations.
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Intelisys Goes International

stephen_hackett.jpgPETALUMA, Calif. – Intelisys Communications has secured the services of European telecom channel veteran Stephen Hackett in a move that solidifies its entry into the international market and opens the doors for Intelisys to expand outside of the United States to support a new community of Sales Partners as they sell telecom, connectivity and cloud services to business customers around the globe, with dedicated international support in the UK.

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How The Cloud Could Have Saved The Day

cloud.jpgHaving worked off-and-on as a network administrator for the past 15+ years, I am often reminded of just what a life-saver the cloud and managed services can be. This past weekend, I happened to step into a situation where ignoring these benefits led to a complete nightmare for one "unlucky" customer.

I was called-in as a favor on what basically turned out to be a disaster recovery operation. The disaster did not come in the way of a flood, fire or earthquake though. It came in the form of a rogue IT employee who basically took down his employer's entire telecommunications network upon his sudden, forced exit from the company. 

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Images From Channel Partners Conference & Expo

cp_show.jpgLAS VEGAS - The Channel Partners Conference & Expo has just published images from its 2016 gathering in Las Vegas, which are available via their website. This year's show featured a record-breaking 5,100+ attendees, including NBA Hall of Famer, professional wrestler and Donald Trump campaign supporter Dennis Rodman.

A full index of photos from this year's show is available at https://goo.gl/mvZEOh

 


TBI Signs With Salestream

jeff_fraser.jpgCORONA, Calif. - TBI has entered into a ten-year license of Salestream’s MasterStream-MX platform, making it Salestream’s longest license term ever signed. TBI is well known for its commitment to providing its agent partners with superior support. With more than 70 telecom providers in its portfolio, and more than 2500 agent partners, TBI’s administrative demands are extraordinary. With MasterStream, TBI aims to further improve the experience it provides to its partners with extensive on-demand quoting while reducing its operational overhead.

“TBI is a marquee name in this industry and we’re very proud to be able to finally name them as a customer. With their dedication to quality, the TBI team has already made a positive impact on our customer base by challenging us to do more and do it better- a challenge we gladly accepted." said Jeff Fraser, President of Salestream Software.

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Verizon Taps New VP of Channel Sales

janet_schijns.jpgNEW YORK - George Fischer, senior vice president of global sales at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, has named Janet Schijns vice president of global channels for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Schijns succeeds Adam Famularo.

Verizon has driven significant growth in its channel business in the past 18 months, including a 10x increase in new business through the agent channel; the company will continue to build on the momentum of its channel team.

 

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Birch Buys PRIMUS Assets

morgan_granfield.jpgATLANTA -  Birch Communications, Inc.,  announced its recent agreement to purchase select assets and customers of Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc. (“Primus”), one of Canada’s largest independent, full-service, telecommunications service providers. The closing is expected in the second quarter of 2016 and this transaction will mark the 28th asset purchase for Birch.

 

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TCA Chooses New President

rob_butler.jpgDraper, Ut. - The Technology Channel Association (TCA) today named Rob Butler as its new president. The TCA board is made up of industry leading master agents, leadership from one of the country's largest VAR's, the past Editor-in-Chief of the leading telecom and cloud industry magazine, an author and consultant for sales enablement and marketing, the founding President of the Women in the Channel, and the best direct agents that the industry has developed.

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Channel Partners Show Keeps Evolving

venetian.jpgLas Vegas - By all accounts, the 2016 Channel Partners Conference and Expo this past week was a hit with a growing number of vendors and attendees. A list of exhibitors from one year to the next says a lot about where the state of the industry is headed and how much things have changed in only a few short years.

What originally started off as the Phone+ Magazine Agent Trade Fair in 1997 has morphed from a gathering of agents, master agents and upstart long distance carriers and resellers to a much more matured group of Channel Partners and variety of data and information providers.

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