The telecommunications interests of eight utility companies have banded together to form the UTelco Alliance, a marketing affiliation that will debut at this weeks CompTel/ASCENT Convention & Expo.
Members of the group at press time included Con Edison Communications, Edison Carriers Solutions, Hydro One Telecom, IdaComm Southern Telecom, Progress Telecom, PPL Telcom and SRP Telecom.
The group is organized under UTC, the United Telecom Council, a global trade association dedicated to creating a favorable business, regulatory and technological environment for utilities (electric, gas and water) that own, manage or provide critical telecommunications systems in support of their core businesses.
Bill Moroney, president and CEO of UTC, says the UTelco Alliance presence at the CompTel/ASCENT trade show will include advertisements in the events Show Daily, signage at each members booth, and an invitation-only reception. The group has a Web site at www.utelcos.com. There are no dues, but members are dividing costs equally.
The efforts will be a test he says to determine whether the companies can raise their profiles among potential carrier and enterprise customers by combining their market message.
When they bid on an RFP, they get the business, says Moroney. What they dont get is business they dont get a chance to bid on.
The cooperative marketing effort is based on the shared attributes of its members, he says. These include:
Reliable Networks: UTelcos use ring-based, technology independent networks with gateways to other carriers and service providers.
Business Stability: UTelcos are financially backed by their utility parents.
Geographic Reach: UTelcos offer route diversity by providing varying network services in most Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities with access to major network PoPs. UTelco networks go where no other networks can go with routes through electric conduits, gas pipelines and other utility rights of way to provide a truly distinctive network option.
First-Rate Services: UTelcos offer the latest in broadband solutions such as managed data transport services, custom networks, local and long-distance voice services, Internet services and more.
While the original charter of the UTelco Alliance does not allow members to sell each others networks, Moroney says that part of the message will be the ability to piece together a solution by partnering with other alliance and non-alliance members.
The evaluation criterion for each member is simple, says Moroney: Did they get more business or a chance at more business as a result of the campaign?
They all have been going to CompTel events for years so they have an expectation as to the return on investment they should see.
Should the test prove successful, the members will evaluate extending it to other vertical markets and may entertain more complex business arrangements What could it evolve to? Use your imagination, he says.