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MSOs: CableFinder Tool Key to MSP Channel Convergence

A cloud services distributor now provides the cable serviceability tool to MSP partners.

James Anderson

May 13, 2021

5 Min Read
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Cableco executives are hailing CableFinder as a key on-ramp for MSPs to sell connectivity services.

The CableFinder tool provides serviceability information for multiple cable companies on a single platform. Partners can input an address, find options for coax and fiber, load pricing and promotion options, and generate a contract for customers to sign. As a result, agents can speed up and simplify the sales process.

Co-founder Jed Kenzy helps partners view disparate cable footprints from a single pane of glass.

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CableFinder’s Jed Kenzy

“Today if you have a multisite opportunity and you want to know what falls in Comcast versus what falls in Spectrum versus what falls in Cox, your team has to have the knowledge to go to each of those individual portals,” Kenzy said.

For that reason, master agent Innovative Business Solutions (which Kenzy co-founded), first unveiled the tool in 2019. But after seeing demand from other master agents for that type of solution, Kenzy redesigned CableFinder as its own separate software. Now Intelisys, Avant, CNSG, MicroCorp, AppSmart and Pax8 use the offering, in addition to Innovative Business Solutions. Some of them are white-labeling the tool.

Thus far, partners have searched 1.3 million addresses on CableFinder and generated 8,000 contracts. Participating carriers include Altice, Comcast Business, Cox Business, Spectrum Business, Viasat and WOW.

“The fact that we were 1) able to wrangle together all of the cable companies and 2) able to wrangle all the master agents to do this — it’s really bringing forward consistency across the entire channel,” Kenzy said.

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CableFinder’s Jeff Pratt

Most recently, Jeff Pratt joined as senior director of strategic alliances. Pratt, who previously managed Spectrum Business’ authorized partner program, will develop new relationships with master agents, retail, call center and digital channels.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in April.

MSP Opportunity

Craig Schlagbaum, Comcast Business‘ senior vice president and channel chief, said the tool is opening up a crucial opportunity for the cable industry. While traditional telecom agents benefit from CableFinder, Schlagbaum said MSPs are getting a missing piece of the puzzle.

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Comcast’s Craig Schlagbaum

Schlagbaum, who has been trying to involve IT partners in the connectivity space for more than a decade, said CableFinder relieves the concerns of MSPs who might be considering selling cable. It helps them answer key questions that clients are bound to ask.

“And that comes down to: ‘Is it serviceable? What’s the price? What does that service do? Where’s my contract, and what are the details of that contract?'” Schlagbaum said. ” … This tool simplifies all those riddles and makes it simple for the average MSP to participate in the ecosystem.”

Schlagbaum said too often MSPs see connectivity as a “bogeyman” that… they prefer to just turn over to traditional agents in the form of leads. According to Schlagbaum, while there are approximately 7,000-10,000 traditional telco agents, the 50,000-plus MSPs and VARs dwarf them in number.

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Cox Business’ John Muscarella

“CableFinder makes it easier for the agent, the non-telecom agent, the MSP and the VAR to get connectivity solutions into the hands of their customers,” said John Muscarella, Cox Business‘ executive director of national indirect sales channels.

Muscarella and Comcast both pointed to Pax8 as an example of convergence. The cloud services distributor, which caters to MSPs, recently unveiled a CableFinder-powered self-service platform called Loc8.

Pax8 chief revenue officer Nick Heddy said his company sees opportunities in cable. He noted how analysts project a 14.5% compound annual growth rate in fiber optic cable over the next four years.

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Pax8’s Nick Heddy

“Through the consolidation and automation provided by the tool, the sales process that typically takes a week to complete occurs within minutes, creating a simplified approach to selling connectivity solutions,” Heddy said. “Loc8 is transforming the way our partners deliver internet access to their clients and enabling them to achieve phenomenal growth.”

Increased Volume

Muscarella noted that COVID-19 significantly impacted the way Cox and its partners do business. For example, many agents were looking to automate the sales process and reduce human interaction. Moreover, he said Cox saw an uptick in business correlated with CableFinder.

“But our uptick wasn’t just share-shift (moving volume from A to B); it was actually incrementally more volume, because now people could get access to our services quicker and easier than ever before,” he said.

Muscarella and Schlagbaum emphasized the impact on large multisite customers. Consider a gas station or fast-food chain whose locations stretch across the country. No MSO covers all of that space, so partners need to pull together disparate sources of coax and fiber. In most cases, an agent might need days or weeks to deliver much-needed information to the customer. Now that time can reduce to a matter of minutes, as CableFinder can process up to 1,000 addresses.

In addition, the tool gives partners an advantage over direct sales.

“Our direct team wouldn’t be able to do this the same way as you cross through these different footprints,” Schlagbaum said.

Viasat joined CableFinder’s carrier portfolio earlier this year, and CableFinder is in discussions with other providers. In addition, CableFinder is working to expand its customer base of master agents.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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