Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The New Universal Service Fund for Rural Broadband

The Connect America Fund (CAF) is part of USF. There was CAF I & II. Now the FCC is calling the new 10 year fund RDOF. Learn about it HERE.

The FCC has authorized full commercial deployment in the CBRS band, thereby opening the band for use in mobile and fixed wireless networks, including private networks that will offer an alternative to enterprise Wi-Fi. CBRS is 3550 and 3700 MHz – or 3.5 GHz to 3.7 GHz

CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google, and Sony have been designated Spectrum Access System administrators in the 3.55-3.7Ghz band.

The biggest CAF II winner was a WISP in Texas called Nextlink. They have been doing joint ventures (JVs) in order to grow the business (and meet the CAF II deployment milestones).

Nextlink joined the DISH Alliance Group in order to (1) offer video; (2) get marketing help for its broadband. Read more HERE


A decade of telecom stats by Doug.

Friday, January 03, 2020

2020: Trends to Leverage for Your Customers

There are a number of trends happening in the tech/telecom space that you hear about and may not know how to leverage for customers. AI, SD-WAN, IoT and 5G get a lot of hype, but how can you monetize that noise?

Join me on a 1-hour webinar on Friday, January 24 at Noon Eastern time for
2020: Trends that can make you more money!

REGISTER NOW FOR JUST $19.95





Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Hiring Help

Video about Mission, Purpose and Strategy for the CEO.

Hiring: How would you define your perfect candidate?

How to Win Top Candidates HERE.

How important is your job to you? With work, family and other life commitments, you could feel you are too busy to even answer the question, but it is well worth considering. HERE.

This Week in Telecom Marketing

A few examples of marketing in telecom this week:

Interesting email recruitment offer here from a BSFT provider, SonicTel.

Note that BCM One in NYC acquired BSFT provider Arena One. Earlier this year, BCM One acquired SIPTRUNK/SIP.US. Could this be the start of consolidation in the BroadWorks space considering that effectively Cisco has mothballed that product?

Sangoma has acquired FreePBX, Digium/Asterisk, VoIP Innovations and VoIP Supply. Now they are offering Zulu UC for a year for no charge. Just another way to get some attention.


If you are offering managed wi-fi, have you sent out a press release?
Example press release here.

Are you offering Microsoft Teams support?
Or Webex Teams? Or some other business collab package?
Example of a simple press release here.

When Marketing Plans fail by Doug HERE.



Wednesday, September 25, 2019

This Week in Telecom

So Consolidated Comms is a roll up of SureWest, Fairpoint and some other IOCs. They are almost a billion dollar ILEC.  "Revenues totaled $333.5 million, compared to $350.2 million for the second quarter of 2018, a decline of $16.7 million. After normalizing for the sale of the Virginia properties in July 2018, revenue declined $15.3 million or 4.4 percent for the quarter." [source] Even they are experiencing a revenue decline.

This week Digerati, a holding company in Texas, has acquired Nexogy. Nexogy was a UC provider in Miami that originally ran a Broadsoft then switched to netsapiens. Digerati acquired Florida's T3 Comms last year (2018).

Then you have Hargray in SC and Georgia. Hargray was an IOC out of Hilton Head that has expanded through acquisitions and fiber deployment. Hargray has acquired two MSPs - iTech in 2013 and Infinity Network Solutions this month - and 3 colocation facilities in the Southeast. These transactions have given them a managed services and data center practice.

Hargray has acquired two cable systems - Plantation Cablevision in Georgia’s Lake Oconee region in 2015 and Kingsland Cable last month. Other purchases have included the Alabama assets of USA Communications, specifically a cable footprint in Pell City and the surrounding area in 2019; aDark Fiber Systems in Jacksonville, FL; and Gerogia's ComSouth, an IOC.

Hargray has been powered by Private Equity money - first by Quadrangle Capital Partners in 2007; then in 2017, an investment group led by The Pritzker Organization acquired Hargray from QCP. Hargray has grown into a regional communications company with over 2,000 route miles of fiber serving more than 80,000 customers, including most cellcos.

Why the story about Hargray? Well there are 700+ IOCs in the US. Many are struggling due to USF dependence and competition from WISPs, cablecos, satellite and cellcos. Some whine; others like Hargray and IDS in Florida, pivot, strategize and go get it.

Granite Telecom announced that they hit $1.5B in revenue with no debt. Granite was a UNE-P reseller when the TRRO decision came down in 2004. Granite moved quickly to shore up commercial contracts with the ILECs to replace the UNE-P with resale. In 2004, Granite served 200K lines of Verizon. They were VZ's largest wholesale customer. They also have a long standing wholesale arrangement with AT&T that was renewed in 2017. Today, they have 1.75 million voice and data lines under management. At just $55 per line per month that is $1.15 B in revenue.

How do they do it? Well, focus. They mainly sell copper - POTS and PRI - to multi-location customers, and they have a GSA contract. They have a strong, charitable culture and often get voted best place to work. They are a sales company, not a network operator.

To drive revenue you have to have a plan and execute it on revenue.



Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Thoughts for 3Q 2019

A few interesting CEO articles:

Do you know what your Value Proposition is? That is mainly what providers have been hiring me for in 2019: help them figure out the Value Proposition. A USP (unique sales proposition) is similar to a value proposition. Here are some examples. Other terms for it include Positioning and Laddering.

There are so many choices that you want to position yourself in your prospect's mind as different than the rest. That is what the Value Proposition is.

BTW, mass market means average. The biggest CLEC died with just 81K customers. So aim to be the best and most profitable service provider in your region. The minimum viable audience by Seth Godin.


I am speaking at SkySwitch Users Conference in Orlando at the end of October on white label UCaaS.

I am also speaking at Channel Partners Evolution in DC on 9/10 and will be attending Cloud Comms Alliance on 9/11-12.



Thursday, May 30, 2019

Books to Read in 2019


These are some old books but when you want to guerrilla market without a fancy budget, the ideas in these books are timeless.

Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson
201 Great Ideas by Jane Applegate
101 Ways to Promote Yourself 
Off the Wall Marketing Ideas
Dan Kennedy is the Direct Marketing king (Robin Robins learned from him.) His best book is the NO BS Guide to Direct Marketing.
Seth Godin's books are all gold in my opinion. His newest is This Is Marketing. This book is going on the trip. The others above are on my shelf since I used them before and saw that so many folks are struggling with FTTH marketing.

These are in the luggage. [What? It's an 8 and one-half hour flight each way!]

The Algebra of  Happiness by NYU Professor Scott Galloway
Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook by Tony Robbins
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit
Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson

In case you didn't read these in 2018 - go here for 4 more suggestions.

Or read any of my books HERE.








Monday, May 20, 2019

Residential Fiber Marketing: Do You Need TV?


The best data I have seen on broadband and TV has come from Cable One (top 10 MSOs), since the CEO there declared 3 years ago that it was going to de-emphasize TV and focus on broadband.

When Cable One acquired NewWave cable in 2016, they released this data. 428k homes passed, 23.5% video penetration, 25.8% broadband penetration. Overall Cable One has a 31% broadband penetration of homes passed.

Light Reading reports, "Cable One's strategy to focus on broadband and de-emphasize pay-TV continued to play out in Q1 2019, as the operator saw its average revenue per unit (ARPU) reach an industry high among its US peers. ... A residential broadband ARPU of $70.80 in Q1 made Cable One the first publicly traded US cable operator to eclipse the $70 mark, according to Craig Moffett, an analyst with MoffettNathanson."

Cable One's average data usage at the end of Q1 was 290 gigabytes per month.

4 Reasons TV is Changing & Declining:

  1. The term cable is becoming extinct [HERE]
  2. Comcast and Cox have added Amazon Prime and Netflix as a channel.
  3. Hotels now have channels on the TV to login to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu to reduce the TV costs for the company.
  4. "The firm said that about 31 million U.S. consumers, 12% of the adult population are Cord Nevers (CNs)." [source]


It isn't about the triple play as much as it is giving your customers options and value -- and explaining that value.  Choice & Value.

Gigabit penetration nationwide is just 6%, but it gets them to buy higher speeds.

  • Do you customers have a computer? Tablets? Alexa? Hardware-as-a-service, folks!
  • Do you rent Apple TVs or Roku?
  • If you sell fixed wireless, do you offer HDTV antennas?
  • If you sell voice, do you block Robocalls?

WI-FI

Business or home wi-fi is very important. Comcast knows it.

U.S. broadband households now have an average of 9.1 connected devices,” said Brad Russell, Research Director, Connected Home, Parks Associates.

BRANDING!

Charter re-branded as Spectrum. Cable One is re-branding as Sparklight. Verizon has FiOS.

  • Do you have a product brand?
  • Did you have a service launch plan for your fiber?
  • Are you using CRM?
  • What tactics are you using to reach customers? List them.
  • How are you tracking each campaign/tactic?

Pew Research data on household demographics - Home broadband use by income [here]

About 65% or more than 164 million adults in the United States play video games, according to a new video game demographics report from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). [source]

TELEHEALTH:"Nearly a quarter (22%) of physicians have used telehealth to see patients, and a new telehealth forecast suggests that 61% of doctors will use it by 2022." [source]

Microsoft's Airband Program is looking for partners. AT&T's FirstNet wants more rural partners.