Alive & Kickin

MORE THAN 100 EXHIBITORS and 2,500 attendees converged on the worlds largest Marriott Hotel in mid-October for the COMPTEL PLUS Convention + Expo to champion a new era in the competitive carrier community characterized by mergers and acquisitions and the introduction of new technologies.

There has been a lot of consolidation, but we have a full show floor nonetheless, which is a positive sign for the industry, said Earl Comstock, COMPTELs president and CEO. The industry is energetic and vibrant, and it really comes across in the show floor.

Similarly, COMPTEL Chairman Sherm Henderson said in his opening remarks that the competitive industry is adapting to a new environment, evidenced by the new and evolving businesses on the COMPTEL PLUS exhibit floor.

As one example, Henderson cited Adaption Technologies, a new exhibitor at the event and a new entrant in the competitive market. The company, which boasts former founder and CEO of WilTel Roy Wilkens as its honorary chairman, is about four months old and has developed a platform for delivering hosted PBX services under private label to service providers, such as CLECs, ISPs and cablecos, seeking to get into the VoIP business.

We are coming back, Henderson said. We are a changing, adapting industry and association.

He added the entrepreneurial spirit continues among the COMPTEL members. There are a lot more gray hairs, but there are a whole lot of young companies. …Also, there are a number of financial institutions here that we havent seen in a few years.

Henderson said he is encouraged to see support coming back to the competitive- carrier industry. More than 110 CEOs attended the CEO Council meeting another good indicator of an engaged competitive industry, he noted.

The big question is who has the solution for the last mile, he said, claiming there are some alternatives to cable and telco infrastructure being offered on the show floor.

Indeed, a number of bypass landline providers were among the exhibitors. In addition, there were fixed-wireless service providers that are providing wholesale access alternatives. Even Hendersons own company, Lightyear Network Solutions, exhibited FirstSpeed, its new BPL offer, which was set to roll out to wholesale customers in select markets, such as Akron, Ohio, this fall.

Underscoring new energy in the competitive telecom world, activity was lively in the expo hall. Dan Lowden, vice president of business development and marketing for Wayport, a Wi-Fi provider, said the show was phenomenal for his company. Were making a lot of great contacts. We see a strong need for the services Wayport brings, he said.

Vertek, too, was getting good traffic, said Mauricio Rosales, director of engineering and provisioning. Its targeting the right audience that makes it easier to deliver a message.

From left to right, Earl Comstock, president and CEO of COMPTEL; Patrick Thompson, vice president of legislative affairs for Covad; and Pete Leon, COMPTELs new vice president of legislative affairs, talk about Capitol Hill activity that will influence the future of the competitive industry.

The group at AT&T Wholesale showcases the carriers voice, data and IP services.

Michelle Machado, George Gehringer and Rich Levine of XO Communications tout the lighting of XOs long-haul optical network.

Chris Conant demos Vancos new NetDirect Web portal.

Sandy Renne, David Ellis, Scott Macdonald and Maud Arend are part of the Qwest wholesale team.

Mike Littley and Stan Seibert of Level 3 Communications Inc. promote the carriers global IP backbone.

Terry Monroe, COMPTEL’s executive vice president of business development and member services, celebrated his final COMPTEL event in Orlando. In a reception at COMPTEL PLUS, Monroe (center) with his wife Kim, was recognized for nine years of service to the organization by COMPTEL Chairman Sherm Henderson (far left), COMPTEL CEO Earl Comstock, former COMPTEL presidents Jim Smith and Russell Frisby, and former COMPTEL board member Drew Walker. Monroe now serves as director of development and membership for the Internet Society.

The gang at InterMetro Communications promotes termination and origination services in the United States.
COMPTEL Chairman Sherm Henderson praises members for their entrepreneurial spirit during a time of regulatory uncertainty. PAETECs Arunas Chesonis, chairman and CEO, shares his companys recipe for success, in hopes competitive carriers will work together more to provide alternatives for end users.



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