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October 7, 2009
By Ben Henkels, Principal, Communication Management Partners
It is all too obvious that cable companies are building out their data infrastructure capacities. In a lot of ways this is good for the SMB space. What the cable companies are missing is the ability to properly facilitate multilocation, multimarket implementations. It is unfortunate that the structure of these companies is stuck in the single-market, single-customer mode. They just seem to have a tough time getting all of the regions integrated into a national system. For agents, this makes it tough to help a lot of their customers on an otherwise cost-effective network option.
The alternate sales channel is also not something the cable companies seem to value. Residual compensation is all but nonexistent. The few that do offer this to outside partners are far from what the rest of the industry pays and their agreements generally are not written to compensate past the initial contract period. This appears to be partly due to the legacy set up. Since they had virtual monopolies in the markets they served with cable television services, there was no real need to have much flexibility or an alternate sales channel. Competition in the IP and voice services space is showing them their current organizational challenges beyond their traditional “island” service model.
There is still some hope that some day, the cable companies will understand the value agents have with their customers and what value that new partnership sales model could bring to the table. There is also hope that they will find a way to truly operate as a national IP provider. It may take a couple of years, but it could be worth it to agents and operators alike.
Ben Henkels is the principal and founder of Communication Management Partners, a telecom brokerage and consulting business. Henkels also is a member of the 2008-’09 PHONE+/Channel Partners Conference & Expo Advisory Board.
Read more about:Agents
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