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In the CEO Spotlight section in Internet Telephony�, we recognize the outstanding work performed by exemplary companies. Each month we bring you the opinions of the heads of companies leading the Internet telephony industry now and helping to shape the future of the industry. This month, we spoke with David Montanaro, CEO of USA Datanet.

 

GG: What is USA Datanet�s mission?

DM: USA Datanet is a leading provider of IP-enabled voice, Internet access, and enhanced communications services for consumer, carrier, and commercial customers. As a pioneer in VoIP technology, our mission is to combine the benefits of cutting edge IP technology with proven excellence in customer service, to create compelling value propositions for our customers. We will continue to maintain this model as we look forward to leveraging our expertise during the growth phase of VoIP product and service opportunities that are presenting themselves in today�s communications market.

GG: What is your vision for USA Datanet, and how is the company positioned in the next-generation telecom market?

DM: From its inception, USA Datanet�s long-term strategy has been based on developing an innovative SIP software-based VoIP network, which we believed would alter the playing field in telecommunications and create a significant revenue opportunity for emerging IP-enabled service providers. Clearly, this early adopter status of SIP-based technology has positioned our network to provide a variety of communications services to all market segments. It is in the carrier and commercial markets, however, that we see the greatest opportunity for growth, as companies are now realizing the unique advantages VoIP can provide. As this trend toward carrier and commercial IP-enabled services continues, it allows us to fully utilize our existing network and our SIP expertise to provide the solutions that our customers need. Industry research and our experience both point toward increasing adoption of VoIP solutions in the SMB market, and we believe the SMB market for VoIP will soon be entering a mass market growth phase. USA Datanet is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this growth phase. It�s exciting to be in the right place at the right time; it is what USA Datanet has planned for, and where we find ourselves today.






GG: Now that it appears that growth and opportunity are the trends in the VoIP industry, what possible hurdles do you see that might upset this momentum?

DM: Obtaining affordable, quality last-mile access in Tier 1 cities is fairly commonplace today, but this is not always the case in Tier 2 or rural communities, and could be an inhibitor to the pace of growth of IP-enable services in these areas. Also, the experience of the end customer could vary significantly depending on the capabilities and experience of the VoIP provider. Obtaining a softswitch and providing service can be accomplished by many start-ups, but having all the elements in place to provide the customer with the required reliability, security, and customer support takes time, experience, and resources. Each poor customer experience serves as a hurdle to the industry momentum that is being created. Finally, the regulatory environment surrounding VoIP can always affect momentum, both positively and negatively.

GG: What are the latest product developments at USA Datanet and what new developments can customers hope to see over the coming months?

DM: Our current promotion to the carrier market, which offers 500,000 free terminating minutes, has been so well received that we have extended the offer beyond initial plans. Promotions like this are possible because USA Datanet was one of the first to aggregate DIDs from multiple locations and then provide them to a single location. This enables carriers to reduce their network complexity, increase flexibility, and reduce costs, which is what all of them are ultimately trying to achieve. We are constantly increasing our network footprint across the U.S. to allow carriers access to additional DIDs and more markets. We are also very excited about our Hosted IP Communication Service, which was launched in May 2006. Today, this service delivers a hosted telephony solution targeting small and medium-sized business. Our product roadmap for this hosted business service will quickly add email/collaboration service and, a little further down the road, hosted security, and hosted storage solutions for these customers. Through hosting of services, our goal is to continue to expand our product development to provide a menu of solutions for all business needs. The initial response from the business market has been impressive, and is easy to understand. Hosted solutions provide access to communications solutions previously unavailable to these businesses, require little or no capital expenditure, and place state-of-the-art technology on the users� desks. We continue to believe that the era of hosted solutions is not only here today, but will transform the way businesses approach their communications purchasing decisions.

GG: What makes USA Datanet�s product offerings unique and how do companies benefit from using them?

DM: Being a pioneer in this industry has allowed USA Datanet to design and develop an advanced, next generation VoIP network that we believe has the capacity, scalability, and flexibility required to meet the rigorous demands of the rapidly evolving telecommunications market. The benefits of this longevity are the development of processes critical to the end customer, such as 24/7/365 NOC, complete back office capabilities, billing integration, proven customer service organization, high quality carrier partners, and required certifications. Our customers can count on these end-to-end capabilities that have been refined over the years. When you add to this products and services that are fairly priced, simple, and meet a customer�s needs, you have a formula that has proven to exceed customer expectation time and time again.

GG: Describe your view of the future of the IP Communications industry.

DM: Opportunities abound for IP Communications companies that focus on leveraging their technology without forgetting the basics that have been a proven component of business success time and time again. Technology alone will not win the day. Staying ahead of the technological curve while still finding practical ways of bringing solutions to market in ways that will benefit our customers is what we strive for. We have created communication solutions, making sure they are backed up with superior reliability, affordability, and customer support, and that is, in the end, what we will hang our hat on. The pace at which the IP Communications industry will advance will depend to a large degree on how well we all adhere to these basic fundamentals. IT

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