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Google Fiber Explores Partnerships With Solution Providers

Fiber Internet

Josh Long**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of July’s important channel-program changes you should know.**

CHANNEL PARTNERS EVOLUTION — Google is exploring opportunities to team up with channel partners to support its growing fiber business.

Google Fiber launched this month in Atlanta, joining a handful of cities where its Internet connectivity is available to businesses: Provo, Utah; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Google Fiber is targeting SMBs that have been underserved, said Aaron Withrow, channel partner manager. Withrow said Google Fiber serves companies ranging in size from a sole proprietor to a midsize business.

Google’s model is simple and straightforward — Internet connectivity. Google Fiber offers three tiers of service: 100 mbps (upload and download speeds) for $70 a month; 250 mbps for $100; and I gigabit for $250. {ad}

Withrow told Channel Partners that Google Fiber resonates with businesses that understand technology and are trying to use it to solve business problems. During a brief presentation Monday, he noted there are no construction fees or contracts.

“What we’re trying to do is bring abundant and flexible bandwidth to as many businesses as we can,” Withrow said Monday during an interview while attending Channel Partners Evolution.

Partners who are selling a product or service requiring bandwidth, such as VoIP or cloud solutions, are a good fit for Google Fiber, he said.

Asked about his company’s motivation for partnering with the channel, Withrow acknowledged the challenges in selling to businesses and offering them value beyond a boatload of bandwidth.

“And that’s where partners come in,” he commented. “Being able to marry the services together and provide a solution that solves business problems. That’s part of the reason why.”

“But frankly,” Withrow continued, “we’re going to want to expand and really get more penetration with our product.”

Google Fiber has planned launches in a number of other major cities including San Antonio, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco, among others.

The Silicon Valley giant presently has about 60 partners, predominantly managed service providers (MSPs), noted Withrow. He said a partner may have an easier time starting a conversation with a business by letting the company know that it is eligible for Google Fiber rather than leading with …

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… a sales pitch for a solution.

“They’ve get to say … ‘You’re paying $800 a month for $50 meg symmetrical. Let me bring you a gig for $250 and save you some money,” Withrow said.

Withrow acknowledged Google Fiber’s current partner program isn’t a great fit for the channel today.

“But that’s why we’re here [at Channel Partners Evolution] — to really talk with all the channel partners … about what they want to see and how they can best work with Google Fiber,” he said.

In the current arrangement, Google isn’t paying its partners. But Google Fiber and the MSPs have teamed up to help each other grow their businesses, Withrow pointed out.

“They are less focused on the small amount of commissions that we could actually offer them and they are more focused on getting new customers, upselling their existing customers,” he said. “But I really want to figure out how we can leverage the channel partners that we have here” at the show.

“And I know that costs money and we’re fine moving forward with that,” he continued. “We just have to figure out what’s the right way to do that.”

He agreed that Google Fiber’s compensation plans will evolve and the partner program is likely to look much different in a year.

Meantime, the indirect sales channel already has shown interest in partnering with Google Fiber. By Monday evening, a number of companies had reached out to Withrow.

“It’s been really great for making those connections,” he said of the show.


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