Zayo Making Good on Agent-Program Promises

Dark-fiber provider Zayo Group is making good on vows to incorporate AboveNet’s well-developed partner program into its own, more nascent one.

“We will continue what AboveNet has done in terms of support for channel partners,” Matthew Brouker, Zayo’s director of marketing and investor relations, told Channel Partners on June 14.

That declaration echoes what Glen Russo, Zayo’s executive vice president of corporate strategy and development, told Channel Partners earlier this year. “Our intent is to have a strong channel program,” he said in March.

Zayo’s ongoing commitment comes as it puts the finishing touches on integrating AboveNet into its operations; executives predict all details to be wrapped up within a month or two, now that AboveNet shareholders have voted for the acquisition. Colorado-based Zayo bought New York’s AboveNet in March for $2.2 billion. Together, the companies will boast dark fiber coverage that Brouker said will be open to agents in all, 45,000 route miles and more than 4.5 million fiber miles.

“The breadth of network is going to be interesting and were going to attract a new set of agents” in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets, said Brouker.

Dark fiber is important because it transports high-bandwidth services at low latency levels. For agents targeting multilocation enterprises, in particular, this is critical. And with the combined Zayo-AboveNet, partners also will be able to sell complementary services across more territory the companies share similar product lines and business models. Plus, they will share partner-centric philosophies. “Folding in that agent piece was natural,” Brouker said.

Zayo, by its own admission, has worked with a limited number of partners over the years, doing perhaps two or three sales per year with them. It did not focus heavily on the channel because its business model built on Ethernet, dark fiber, wavelength, SONET and other high-capacity services has not meshed with that of traditional agents selling transactional voice products. But many agents’ models are changing, thanks to cloud computing and enterprise demand for bandwidth, providing Zayo a key reason to expand its interactions with partners.

So, as it finalizes the AboveNet purchase, Zayo is taking direction from its new addition.

“AboveNet had a much more formal agent program than Zayo and, through integration planning, we’re starting to learn more how theyve done it,” Brouker said. “We’re really picking up a lot of knowledge there and plan to extend that.”

Details on support and resources remain confidential, for the most part, but there will be back-office help, pre- and post-sales engineering, and more, Brouker said. It’s also unclear how many AboveNet channel staff will be hired; however, Brouker said, support “will be there.”

Once the deal closes, Zayo will talk more about what partners can expect from the combined companies. Zayo also just snapped up FiberGate, a transaction that should lend even more opportunity to the agent channel.

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