Jan-Feb 2020 - ChannelVision Magazine

60 CHANNEL VISION | January - February, 2020 B lackfoot Communications entered into 2019 ready for growth and expansion, fresh off the launch of Blackfoot Carrier Services, which is transform- ing today’s carrier services environ- ment by leveraging the region’s largest multi-gigabit network. Shortly after the launch, Blackfoot followed up with several additional de- velopments. For example, the compa- ny expanded its business and network services in Helena and Thompson Falls, Mont.; modernized its infra- structure by implementing ExaGrid for simplified backup; completed a second local business accelerator cohort with C2M beta; and announced a partner- ship with Advanced Communications Technology (ACT), which increased its fiber network footprint across the Western United States. The partner- ship resulted in a combined service territory of more than 30,000 locations spread across 16 states. At the same time, Blackfoot re- mained committed to its mission of modernizing, connecting and investing in rural America. In October, Blackfoot and Energy Partners (EP) hosted the 30th Annual Electronic Educational Equipment (EEE) Awards program for rural students and teachers. And in December, Blackfoot announced the completion of a new fiber build to the Porter Apartments in Missoula, Mont. Looking forward, 2020 is shaping up to be just as big for the Missoula, Mont.-based company. Blackfoot’s next major project, which is already underway, entails assembling a large regional network that will span several states including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, North and South Da- kota and Nebraska. Blackfoot is now actively recruiting partners that want to participate in the regional network. The company hopes to have nine or 10 by the end of 2020. We spoke with Blackfoot director of carrier services Todd Twete, who explained some of the benefits that this network will provide for customers and partners alike. “Right now, there is a strong regional demand for unique and diverse transport routes to metro- politan destinations such as Seattle, Denver and Chicago,” Twete explained. “The regional network will provide competitive and cost-effective transport, bringing critical connectivity to underserved rural areas across the West.” At the same time, Blackfoot has established an indirect sales channel for partners that choose to participate in the network. “The go-to-market strategy for the consortium entails jointly promoting the regional network,” Twete said. “Each one of the partners has their own sales team, but given that each partner will be promoting the regional network, by default each partner is benefitting from the sales efforts of the other partners. So it’s not a formal channel sales program per se, but the individual efforts of each partner will benefit the entire consortium.” With the regional network at their disposal, Twete continued, the value proposition that each partner can offer their enterprise and carrier customers increases significantly.  “Generally speaking, each partner has network assets primarily in one state,” Twete continued. “Courtesy of the regional network, they are able to provide voice and data services to their enterprise and carrier custom- ers across a multi-state area. The benefit bestowed on these enterprise and carrier customers courtesy of the regional network is that they can enjoy an enhanced relationship with their preferred network operator, lim- iting the number of their service pro- viders while continuing to enjoy their current pricing and SLAs.” In addition to the regional network build, Blackfoot is also in the process of launching a new website, which is expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2020. o By Gerald Baldino Blackfoot to Grow Regional Partner Network ZETTABYTES Blackfoot Fiber Network Map