Friday, August 18, 2017

A Look at the INC5000 List (2017 version)

The INC5000 List is out!

Some CARRIERs that made the list:

Bandwave Systems is run by Tom Azelby with $4.3m in revenue in 2016.

Broadsky Networks is at $3.2m

Unitas Global made the list at $22m. Not bad on $10.6m in investment money.

Tierpoint is a data center company that bought the old Windstream data center business for $575M. It is run by a PE firm and the fine folks who used to run SuddenLink (now Altice). Revenue is $349M.

Atlantic Metro Comm is at $16m

Hudson Fiber is at $21m.

NITEL is at $82m; up from $72.8m.

JAB Wireless was a WISP roll-up that became RISE Broadband, a company doing $160m in revenue.

Last year, Masergy was at $254M. Now $293m.


NOW A LOOK AT THE VOIP/UC SPACE:

FreeConference.com does $4.7m

Momentum Telecom is at $95M (this is after the Alteva acquisition for $28.7m).

The list still contains many VoIP providers.

Lightspeed Voice in Florida is just one of over 2000 Hosted VoIP companies operating in the US. They are at $2.9 million; up from $2m last year.

Clarity Voice is at $4.4M; $4.0m last year.

NexVortex is up a cool million to $15m. nexVortex announced the acquisition of Northwest Vox.

Phone.com is up to $11.5m.

TeleQuality is at $24m tackling the healthcare vertical.

PBX inter-connect, Tele-Data Solutions in NJ is doing $3.6m. 3-Year Growth of 54%.

Another PBX shop, VOX Network Solutions, who sells Oracle, Polycom and Avaya, is at $43.2m.

VoIP Innovations has a new CEO in David Walsh and is running $15.5m in rev.

BROADVOICE made the list at $48m, up from $42m last year.

Evolve IP is at $66.5m, up from $59m last year.

Last year, Star2Star hired Gary Testa from Polycom with the vision of an IPO in 2017. Testa is gone. Michelle Accardi is now President and Chief Revenue Officer. The 2013 revenue was $33M. 2015 was $52.7M. 2017 is $58m.

Quite a few of FISPA members made the INC5000 list including JMF Solutions at $2m; IdeaTek at $2.3m; Intelliwave at $3.8m; Altaworx at $3.8m; and GeoLinks at $8.8m

Hunt Telecom is off the list because they were acquired by UNITI.

Mammoth Networks at $25.7m; up from $21.5M!



Last year's INC5000 list post on TMC.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Technology to Pay Attention To (And Why)



Cyber-security will be a big money maker. Ransomware and hacks are increasing; they are also getting easier thanks to the CIA/NSA tool kits that have been released on the dark web. Also, there are now Ransonware-as-a-service sites.

To go along with Ransomware and cyber-security, data backup and disaster recovery services are seeing greater demand. DRaaS is now a thing; ask Datto. Even C Spire is offering DRaaS via Zerto. Frequent and reliable data backup is one safety net for a Ransomware attack.

Everyone realizes how much mass FTTH costs. That's why U-Verse was FTTN with VDSL2 as the last step. Now along comes g.fast, which has gotten uptake in Europe as well as a couple of US ILECs. VZ however had no luck with VDSL2; so they are skipping g.fast for fiber to everything.

SD-WAN is getting as much hype as UCaaS. Many companies are re-marketing with that term now, including Riverbed. Here's where you need to think about SD-WAN: indie operators cannot make margin on cable services and DSL is getting stale. The next evolution is either go to fiber or start thinking about Layer 7.  (Layer 1 or 7 People!)

Layer 7 is managed services like a managed CPE that does fail-over, bonds 2 broadband circuits and has reporting & analytics. The hype about SD-WAN is that the network is software now, making it easier to upgrade the pipe (from 20mb to 100mb on a FastE port); to push updates to a firewall or router; to remotely manage the wi-fi access point. All this from the white-box CPE and through the SDN software that is now running carrier networks. SD-WAN is how you can leverage other networks (cable, DSL, 4G/LTE, satellite and fixed wireless) to deliver a managed solution to your customers.

Millimeter wave wireless will be part of 5G. I don't know how all this works out, but 5G will be using wavelengths from every part of the spectrum - 600 MHz to 60 GHz. It will be used for small cell (because to deliver 100MB+ you have to have a lot of towers! now called small cells) and for backhaul from towers. It may be used for Point to Point. There is even talk of 3650 MHz, which was slated for semi-public use, being used by carriers for 5G fixed wireless deployments to replace wireline broadband. So it is something to think about.




Thursday, August 03, 2017

Fiber Lit Buildings Leaders


Only 11 carriers have more than 10,000 fiber lit buildings, according to the latest report from Vertical Systems: AT+T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, CenturyLink, Comcast, Level3, Cox, Lightower, Zayo, Altice USA and Frontier.



The challenge tier, containing 2,000 to 9,999 lit buildings, has 17 companies. Cincinnati Bell, Cleareon, Cogent, Consolidated Communications, Electric Lightwave, Fairpoint, FiberLight, FiberNet Direct, FirstLight, IFN, Lumos, Southern Light, Sunesys, Unite Private Networks, Uniti Fiber, Windstream and XO.

RAD-INFO INC  is a telecom agent and consultant that can quote and provision fiber and other services from these companies.  Call our office today at 813-963-5884

PS FTR says they have 39K lit buildings in-region (but still losing subs)

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Sales versus Marketing


In a session today at ChannelCon 2112 Group’s Larry Walsh made a comment to Heather Margolis that Marketing is a Cost Center. That isn’t true.



Peter Drucker said that a company has only two duties Innovation and Marketing. Everything else is overhead. If marketing is done correctly, sales is superfluous.

The problem most service providers face is a lack of both. Not much innovation and no marketing. It’s why everything is driven by price.

In today’s hip start-up culture, a business plan is a waste of time. Never mind, a sales plan or a marketing plan. Yet the start-up will spend hours on a pitch deck! The reason to do a business plan is to spend the time thinking through your business. What are you; what are you in business to do; who are your customers; how do you benefit them?

These are important questions to ask. You cannot have a value proposition without knowing who it is directed at – or what your value as a service provider is.

That is Marketing - the message and then communicating that message to the marketplace (ideally targeted to your ideal prospects). (And communicating that message to your employees, partners, vendors.

It is easier if you have a unique service. For example, if you are one of just three UCaaS Providers that integrate with a vertical’s practice management software, creating a message around that and communicating it to that vertical is simpler. It is simpler than yelling at the whole marketplace that you offer Unified Communications!

How relevant are you to your customers? That is the combination of innovation and marketing.

Why are so many sales partners needed? One of two reasons: Demand for your service is so great; or demand is so little.

Comcast, Microsoft and AT&T have big channels. They create Demand. The channel is there to fill it. Most of the rest of the service providers do NOT create demand. They expect the channel to do that but that isn’t what the channel does.

They may be innovative with their DRaaS service bundles but they do not market well. They lean on sales. Tech companies tend to skimp on marketing and lean on sales.

The problem with that is without a clear value proposition; message; and target audience, your brand will be determined by hundreds of independent salespeople who interpret it as they will.

So which is more important? Sales is revenue but if marketing is all the communication – and without communication there are no sales.


Friday, July 28, 2017

What Gets Added to the BIll?

I don’t often see the fees because I don’t get the final bill.
On top of that each carrier charges different fees/taxes.
It isn’t easy to know what those fees will be. That’s on me though.

BGP – at least half the carriers charge something for this; either one time set up or a recurring charge.

IP Addresses – all of them charge for anything more than a /29

Off one bill for MPLS:
  • Total Taxes, Governmental Surcharges & Fees
  • Other Surcharges & Fees
  • Cost Recovery Fee
  • Federal Universal Service Fund (USF) Surcharge
  • State Franchise Recovery Surcharge
  • TX Municipal Franchise Fee
  • Total Other Surcharges & Fees
Off one bill for Dedicated Internet Access:
  • Taxes, Governmental Surcharges & Fees
  • Communications Services Tax
  • FL Communications Services Tax- Gross Receipts
  • State Sales Tax
  • County Sales Tax
  • District Tax
  • Local Sales Tax
  • Utility Users Tax
  • Total Taxes, Governmental Surcharges & Fees
  • Other Surcharges & Fees
  • State Franchise Recovery Surcharge
XO only charged an Admin Service Charge – no other fees/taxes - on Internet bandwidth.  This probably changes when Verizon starts billing XO customers.

On AT&T bills, I have seen:
  • Surcharges and Other Fees
  • Universal Connectivity Charge - Interstate
  • Administrative Expense Fee – Interstate
  • Property Tax Allotment - Interstate
  • Federal Regulatory Fee - Interstate
  • STATE COST - RECOVERY FEE
  • Plus County, State and Federal taxes

On ACC Business, the bills for Internet Access, the only fee is Federal Access Recovery Fee. And ACC is a subsidiary of AT&T!!!

On GTT bills: Regulatory Recovery Surcharge of almost 10%.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tidbits (#2460)

RURAL BROADBAND:

Microsoft will try to bring better broadband to two million rural Americans in the next five years. The company’s so-called Rural Airband Initiative is an attempt to partner with local providers to boost wireless internet.

The FCC will invest $4.5 Billion in rural 4G LTE broadband expansion to rate of return carriers via alternative Connect America model (A-CAM).

FIBER:

Study Shows Home Values Up 3.1% with Access to Fiber.

Can Easier Make-Ready Change the Business Case for FTTH? "Make ready" costs (the cost of readying an aerial facilities pole for a new set of communication cables) might represent $4,000 to $35,000 per mile of cost for a new distribution network. That represents about a low of two percent and perhaps a high of eight percent of total distribution network costs."

The war over high-speed access is fought on 40-foot-high wooden sticks.

POTS

End of copper landlines coming soon. Some people are not happy!

AT&T Looks to Discontinue Copper Landline Phone Service State By State.

Frontier bet $17B on landlines -- and is in serious trouble by the WSJ!

MERGERS:

Atlantic Broadband, a Cogeco Comms subsidiary, will acquire all of the cable systems under the MetroCast brand for $1.4 B. [source]

The telecommunications industry has lost 39,200 jobs in the last year. [source]

Cincinnati Bell is buying Hawaiian Telecom for $650M.

Acquisition complete: Mitel owns Toshiba UC Systems Business Assets.




Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How Much Will 5G Cost?

"A $130 billion to $150 billion fiber infrastructure investment is required in the U.S. to unleash innovation, close the digital divide, and fully prepare the country for 5G, according to a report from management consulting firm Deloitte." [source]

Some facts from the report are interesting:

"One of the key findings of the Deloitte report is that fiber passes less than one-third of U.S. homes and only 39% of consumers can chose from more than one service provider to get a 25 Mbps speed service."

"Deloitte found that 10 million rural homes and 3 million urban/suburban homes do not have broadband of at least 25 Mbps." (Which is the FCC definition of broadband 25x4)

"Perhaps even more troubling is that in rural communities, only 61% of the population have access to 25 Mbps wireline broadband, and consumers can pay nearly three times more than customers in larger cities."

Full report HERE.