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Will Broadview Help Windstream?

In this CRN interview** with Austin Herrington, senior director of product management at Windstream, the strategy is laid out.

Was it just October that Windstream let its small business customers go? At that time didn’t they tell the partner community that they only wanted deals $1250 and above? Didn’t they cut commissions on Paetec customers?

This is a company that owns Allworx but pushes Mitel and Avaya on alternating months. They run both Metaswitch (and took on more seats on Meta with EarthLink) and a Broadsoft. So now they buy a 6th platform: Broadview’s proprietary one. (I hope they kept the chief developer or someone will be searching through code for notes for months.).

Do you know how expensive it is to run 6 platforms? Or even 4? Ask Vonage how much that costs (they run 4).

WIND wants to compete head to head with RC, 8×8 and Vonage in the OTT market. Interesting because data demonstrates that the average OTT deal is $400, well, below the $1250 floor. Even Broadview admits to an ARPU of almost $1000.

I will get emails and calls that I am negative. Chris will ask why I can’t write something nice. I’m not being mean. I am observing a schizoid strategy. Partners cannot turn their business model quarter to quarter to suit the whims of a vendor. It doesn’t work that way.

A $5.4 Billion annual revenue up against $5B in debt. No more equity in CS&L, the REIT they spun off which renamed as UNITI Fiber. “Operating income was $515 million. The company reported a net loss of $384 million.” This is a company that pays out healthy dividends to keep its stock afloat. It has debt payments as well, while acquiring EarthLink and Broadview (and before that data centers it then sold off.)

I hope they can at least take a note from EarthLink: Point yourself at a vertical or two and get good at it. EarthLink had captured the retail vertical with a focus and product fit unseen in the CLEC world. Windstream needs to do more of THAT.

Keep the ELNK Retail division rolling along. Leverage the Broadsoft Hospitality product to find a way to take Hospitality back from the cablecos. The REIT (CS&L) is on a tear buying up fiber and chasing E-Rate. That is a sound strategy.

I wonder if, like CenturyLink, being borne from a RLEC just makes sound strategy tough. So many fat years with USF monies pouring in and no competition that when the spigot went dry, competing just isn’t in the DNA. Hint: hire Dabble Lab. Get Creative. Try stuff. Take real input.

SD-WAN is not the panacea that everyone is hoping for. If SDN is implemented the way LNP and TTU is now, oh boy! A few agents were on FB discussing ZTP (zero touch provisioning) as the end all. I remember Microsoft Plug and Play. It took years to get right. It will all depend on the CPE and the SDN implementation. And I am not counting on it. [And that is just CPE ZTP, not the handsets and UCaaS or Office365 or other software deployment. Just the WAN and CPE.]

Broadview has 20K customers, of which 7300 are cloud users. That isn’t scale. That is less than one-third the of customers 8×8 has. Vonage has 650K seats; Broadview has 182K active users. Scale costs money. Scale requires talent. Scale demands process and procedure. We’ll see. They didn’t even finish the EarthLink integration so this should be fun.

**CRN – click through 10 slides just to read a half page story on this site! What a mess!

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