Corporate Profile

Telesystem: The New Name in Communications

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  November 21, 2017

If you are not yet familiar with the name Telesystem, you probably should be. Telesystem is a growing brand that is now going head-to-head with some of the biggest names in communications.

Telesystem represents a broad portfolio of services and assets. Block Communications is the company behind the brand, and it continues to add new channel partners, facilities, services, and team members.

A Little History

Block Communications Inc., or BCI, is a combination of its original businesses and those of Line Systems (News - Alert) Inc., which started life in 1999 as a privately owned and operated Verizon wholesale partner out of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Nine years later, LSI had built its own network and migrated its business onto those new facilities.

The LSI portfolio featured a complete line of cloud, data, and voice services, and it had national and international networking capabilities. Those assets and services are now owned by BCI, a private media holding company out of Toledo, Ohio.

BCI added the LSI assets to its existing businesses. That included Buckeye CableSystems, a cable TV entity serving customers in Erie County, SE Michigan and Toledo, Ohio. BCI also had a business-focused telecommunications subsidiary, called Telesystem, serving customers in Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio, among other places.

What’s Happening Today

Now, the LSI business is being assimilated into the Telesystem brand. The company has brought together its disparate regional assets, including private fiber and data center facilities, from such markets as Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia, Toledo, and beyond, to become a national presence. It’s leveraging its international connectivity and relationships to support international deployments as well.

The company has traditionally catered to 10- to 500-user environments, and it continues to focus on engagements of this size. But, Telesytem addresses much larger opportunities as well. For example, the organization provides services to a number of hospital systems across the country with more than 5,000 users, said Warren Reyburn, executive vice president and chief revenue officer.

Banking, education and government, and medical are among the verticals in which Telesystem has seen strong success, Reyburn added. In addition to customers in various verticals in the U.S., Telesystem serves organizations of all stripes in Canada, the U.K., Costa Rica, Israel, and Singapore.

A Broad Product Portfolio

Telesystem’s offerings include dual hosted PBX platforms, powered by BroadSoft (News - Alert) and Metaswitch, respectively. More than just voice, these unified communications solutions support omnichannel interactions, Reyburn noted.

The company also sells voice solutions including analog business lines , ISDN PRI, local outbound/LD/toll free, and SIP trunking. From a data services and networking perspective, Telesystem also provides enterprise managed Wi-Fi with security and hosted Microsoft (News - Alert) Exchange among other cloud computing options. Colocation is a long-standing part of the Telesystem product offering.  Lastly, Telesystem delivers a range of network services, including dedicated internet access, Ethernet, MPLS, and private line.

This October Telesystem expanded on its already broad range of network services with the addition of SD-WAN. Software-defined wide area network services enable businesses to connect their branch offices and reach applications and services in the public cloud more efficiently. SD-WAN does that by creating a network overlay that brings more predictability, security, and visibility to the underlying access connections. .

“We have product sets and services to go head-to-head with competitors of any size,” said Reyburn.

The Go-To-Market Strategy

Today, about 25 percent of the company’s revenue comes from wholesale and associated analog services; about 35 percent is from dedicated voice services; and about 40 percent of revenue is derived from dedicated private data and public internet services.

Sixty percent of the company’s sales come through the channel. The other 40 percent is generated by the internal Telesystem sales force. That breakdown was 85 percent to 15 percent at LSI, which was heavily entrenched in the agent community, Reyburn said. But he emphasized that the channel remains an important part of Telesystem’s market expansion and overall growth strategy.

That’s why Telesystem, late last year, named Bruce Wirt to lead its channel effort. That job entailed taking the foundation of the agent channel constructed under LSI and transforming it to be a national-level program.

Although this is a national-level program, Telesystem is able to meet channel partners where they are. It has regional channel managers to assist its partners. Its engineers are available to participate in appointments with channel partner customers and prospects. It leverages Salestream’s MasterStream software to automate contract management, quoting, and post-sale efforts for its channel partners.

But, Reyburn added, the company doesn’t just point its channel partners to a portal and leave it at that. Instead, he said, Telesystem gets involved in proposal generation and beyond to help its channel partners all along the way with dedicated sales support resources and product training.

Telesystem’s growing channel effort and its own direct sales team are contributing to significant growth at the company.

“We are fast approaching $90 million in annual revenue, with aggressive organic long term growth objectives. We want to be in this market space for the long haul,” he added.


The Network

The company also continues to grow its network capabilities and its staff. The Telesystem Fiber Network consists of approximately 3,600 private fiber route miles, 39 points of presence in the U.S., and three data centers. There are more than 400,000 unique lit buildings on the network. Telesystem has 27 network-to-network interfaces, which help it address customers with international requirements.

More than 100 engineers across five states keep that network up and running, and ready for the future. This staff of technical experts is focused on network health and viability, as well as growth, with consideration for product development and enhancement, Reyburn explained. Telesystem, which has a team of 300, continues to add to its customer and agent support teams.

Telesystem also has local number portability in all states. It prides itself on the reliability, redundancy, and security of its solutions. On the security front, for example, Telesystem partners with Corero, Juniper, and Sophos, to deliver protection against and mitigation of distributed denial of attacks.

The Special Sauce

Although Telesystem has grown exponentially and is well positioned for future growth, Reyburn said the company hasn’t – and won’t – forget what got it here. That, he explained, is accountability, agile engineering, and being a trusted advisor to its channel partners and customers.

Channel partners and customers can easily reach Telesystem, Reyburn said. That’s because team members don’t hide behind queues or generic emails as they do at some other communication service provider, he noted.

Telesystem is also unique, he said, because it works to identify the best solutions for channel partners and customers via its consultative sales and engineering process. He added that Telesystem also has built layers of redundancy into its network, has plenty of experts on hand to run that network and to assist in sales and support, provides useful tools for the channel, and delivers best-in-class customer service.

“As a national provider, with international reach, Telesystem stands ready to assist business customers and channel partners by providing the communications, connectivity, and managed computing solutions they require,” said Reyburn. “We continue to grow. We want to help our channel partners grow along with us. Together, we can deliver the best-in-class solutions to organizations across the country and around the world.”

Edited by Erik Linask