All eyes are on the cloud as the next big thing for telecom, but is the next frontier for agents cable?
As MSOs look to the channel to deliver the SMB space, agents may find that cable is the new face of telecom. It's similar with replacement services, but with a few surprises.
The MSOs are interconnecting their networks. This will allow for out-of-region multi-location deals. Cablecos are like baby bells in that they don't compete in a franchise region, so there isn't any overlapping network. The NNI allows for a larger footprint.
The MSOs are actively looking for more qualified channel partners. The rumblings I hear are that cable execs don't like the way agents present three quotes to the customer. They want the agent to be their advocate to explain why the cable offer is different (and more valuable) – or, even better, just sell cable deals.
Cable companies are seeing stunted growth in TV and residential broadband sales. They would like to grow their share of the B2B market. Cable is looking to the SMB space with voice (even hosted PBX (News - Alert)), fat broadband pipes and metro Ethernet – sometimes business TV, especially for medical offices.
The wireless play is still being figured. Some are offering WiMAX or wireless Internet. Some sell mobile data either through their own network or through a Sprint/Clearwire (News - Alert) deal. Just no signs of a quad-play bundle yet.
The big surprise is in the cloud space. TWC buying Navisite was a warning shot to signal that the MSOs are gunning for cloud services too. Cox (News - Alert) announced that it will be building its own platform for electronic medical records. In Pittsburgh, Comcast has a partnership to utilize its network to link customers to Ascent's SAS70 Type II data center (and corresponding services like collocation, virtualization, DR/BC).
Certainly, the MSO space looks an awful lot like the telecom space back in 1999 with similar services and a growing need for B2B sales.
Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc. (http://rad-info.net/).
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi