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


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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News From Channel Partners Show

las_vegas.jpgLas Vegas - This year's Channel Partner's Show in Las Vegas has apparently set a new record for attendance at well over 5,000 attendees, with a wide variety of new exhibitors and technologies taking to the floor for the first time. 

There were quite a number of new announcements made by vendors at the show. We will cover a few of them here:


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Mediacom Plans Gigabit Upgrades

mediacom.pngMediacom Park, NY - Nationwide cable MSO Mediacom today announced that it will be making $1 billion in network upgrades over the next 3 years to offer gigabit broadband service to the 3 million customers currently in its footprint. The upgrades will include both gigabit internet service to residential customers as well as to business customers in its 1,500 local rate centers. Areas not already served should start seeing gigabit service deployed in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Currently priced at around $150 per month, its "Project Gigabit" service will largely be expanded to residential customers through the use of Docsis 3.1 technology utilizing its existing copper network. For businesses and metro customers the company plans on delivering direct "deep" fiber connectivity and greatly expanding the number of "lit" buildings that it passes.  

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New Cloud Conferencing Service From Grandstream

granstream-3200-conferencing.jpgBoston, Mass.  Grandstream Networks, connecting the world since 2002 with award-winning SIP unified communications solutions, has announced the launch of IPVideoTalk, a cloud-based video, audio and Web conferencing service. This subscription service allows any video conference held on a Grandstream GVC3200 or GVC3202 to become a virtual online meeting that can be easily attended by any other GVC320x devices as well as any Web browser users anywhere in the world.

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Global Capacity Adds Telarus As Partner

Adam_Edwards_wTitle.jpgCHICAGO, Ill. -  Global Capacity, the leading connectivity as a service company, announces it has signed a strategic channel partnership agreement with award-winning distributor of business data, voice and cloud services, Telarus. As part of the agreement, the network of agent partners, value added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs) of Telarus is able to offer Global Capacity's robust portfolio of Internet, private line and MPLS services to their small, medium and large customers nationwide and internationally.

"We are pleased to be a master agent in Global Capacity's Channel Partner Program," said Adam Edwards, president of Telarus. "Global Capacity's brand promise of Connectivity Made Simple, combined with its differentiated products, like Asymmetrical Ethernet, provide our agent partners another viable alternative to compete and win more network sales opportunities."

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Momentum Adds Training Resources

miles_fields.jpgBIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Momentum Telecom, a premier provider of Business Voice, Broadband Management and Unified Communications solutions, has successfully introduced its new comprehensive online training platform, Momentum University. Designed with the goal of providing easily accessible and comprehensive access to informational and training resources, Momentum University will serve as an active and progressive tool for Momentum Telecom to aide its customers.

While Momentum Telecom already boasts robust training practices, Momentum University will enhance the already extensive curriculum, which includes on-site training, webinars and materials library.

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Google Launches New Wireless Service

project-fi.pngSan Jose, Calif. - On Monday Google quietly launched the nation's newest wireless service for customers across the United States. Acting as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) the new service is available exclusively to owners of the newest versions of its Nexus smartphone using a special SIM card.

Branded as Project Fi, the service initially became available to beta testers in 2015. Starting this week, anyone owning the compatible hardware can subscribe though. Currently, Google uses proprietary technology in its Nexus phones to switch customers seamlessly between wi-fi and the 4G LTE networks of either T-Mobile or Sprint.

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ShoreTel Adds Flexible Hybrid Options

eugenia_corrales.jpgSUNNYVALE, CA - ShoreTel, the leading provider of phone systems and unified communications (UC) solutions, has rolled out its new ShoreTel Connect HYBRID Sites in North America, which enables companies to mix-and-match Connect ONSITE and Connect CLOUD services and applications across multiple locations.

ShoreTel Connect HYBRID Sites provides a flexible communications solution that allows companies to move at their own pace and as their business needs dictate to full and mixed cloud deployments, while protecting existing communications investments. ShoreTel Connect can be configured multiple ways and across multiple geographies to fit with individual company growth and business models; ensuring that what companies select today will grow with them as their needs change in the future.

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AT&T Adds Collaboration Suite

rick_hubbard.jpgDallas, TX - AT&T today announced a new suite of collaboration tools named  AT&T Collaborate™ that will become available to business customers in late April 2016. Services will be offered on a per seat basis with basic voice services and calling features at the core of each offering.

"With AT&T Collaborate, you're able to design a collaboration solution that best fits your business needs – whether you need basic voice capabilities or a full unified communications experience," said Rick Hubbard, senior vice president, Networking Product Management, AT&T Business Solutions. "The solution provides a flexible way for you to connect your employees while helping control costs and complexity."

A number of enhancements will be available in the form of add-on packages which include:




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Comcast Ramping Up Broadband Speeds

comcast-business.jpgPhiladelphia, PA - Comcast Corp. is reportedly set to make upgrades in 2016 to its broadband infrastructure including the deployment of Docsis 3.1 modems to its customers. Deploying the new modems will allow Comcast to offer Gigabit speeds to customers living in areas that do not currently have access to its fiber network. Using Docsis 3.1 technology its existing copper infrastructure will be able to provide customers with download speeds of up to 10Gbps.

Currently, the company offers its GigabitPro service to business customers in areas where fiber has already been deployed. It currently offers download speeds of up to 2Gbps, but carries significant installation costs for customers that do not already have fiber deployed in their buildings. Its new service will allow customers to upgrade to Gigabit speeds by simply swapping out their existing modems.

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AT&T To Overhaul Streaming Service

att-directv.pngDallas, TX - Less than two weeks after reports of AT&T shuttering its ailing U-Verse video service the company today announced a slew of new video streaming options through its subsidiary DirecTV.

Unlike the company's existing U-Verse service the new plans will not require customers to subscribe to broadband via AT&T. Customers will be able to stream programming to any location or device, whether it be at home, work or accessing using a wi-fi connection. The service will not require any specific type of hardware, such as a home gateway, which was a staple of its former U-Verse service.


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Suddenlink Adding GigaSpeed

altice-suddenlink.jpgSt. Louis, Mo. - Cable television and broadband provider Suddenlink today announced plans to continue the rollout of its previously announced Operation GigaSpeed. The provider's new parent company Altice N.V. confirmed that the company will be investing approximately $250 million in upgrading its infrastructure to provide 1000Mbps connectivity to 90% of its customers by the end of 2016.

Suddenlink currently offers commercial and residential broadband service in 250 local franchises throughout the United States. It was recently purchased by Netherlands-based Altice N.V. for a reported $9.1 billion. Altice is a global telecommunications provider serving nearly 46 million customers worldwide. The company is also in the process of purchasing U.S. cable MSO and broadband provider Cablevision Systems.

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Verizon Buying XO Network Assets

xo_network_small.pngNew York - Xo Communications today announced plans to sell major portions of its network assets to Verizon for $1.8 Billion. Among the assets included are Xo's entire nationwide fiber network and fiber-based IP and Ethernet networks. Verizon is also agreeing to lease wireless spectrum licensed to Xo with an option to purchase it at a later date, pending FCC approval. The company currently owns 102 wireless licenses across the country in the 28 and 39GHz range, which covers 45% of the U.S. population. Verizon has stated that it intends to use the spectrum as part of its upcoming migration to 5G.


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Telarus Adds Barrios

ken_barrios.jpgSANDY, UT - Telarus, Inc. today announced that it has hired Ken Barrios as a Director of Solution Sales. In this role, Barrios will leverage his 12 years of experience as a Regional Channel Manager for tw telecom and later Level 3 Communications, to work with Telarus partners who need full service assistance designing, proposing, selling, and/or project managing large and complex network and hosted voice sales. 

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AT&T May Dump Video Service

AT&T U-VerseSan Antonio, TX - According to a number of reports AT&T may already be in the process of phasing-out its troubled U-Verse video service. Bloomberg News reports that the carrier has halted manufacture of the company's set-top boxes and is hoping to migrate existing U-Verse customers to recently purchased satellite TV provider DirecTV.

The company's U-Verse service has had a troubled history, which includes a steadily declining customer base and a variety of technical problems. These have included nationwide service disruptions lasting days at a time. The service has also suffered from its reliance upon legacy DSL technology in most areas.

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