12 Top Stories: Frontier Bankruptcy, UCaaS Leaders, Windstream COVID-19 Relief

If you’re like me, it seems we’re two years into this COVID-19 crisis, not two months. The pandemic continues to dominate the headlines — and that includes in the channel. And our 12 top stories is an example of that.

We are keeping you up to date with the latest on channel relief efforts. Companies such as Windstream are doing what they can to help customers and partners make it through while saving a buck. That and other efforts are why we created a COVID-19 Help series. It is dedicated to news, analysis, webinars and more that focus on the industry’s – and the world’s – biggest topic.

But you’ll find much more than just COVID-19 highlights in the monthly countdown of our 12 top stories.

UCaaS and SD-WAN remain the most popular technologies in the channel, and even more so since the onset of the coronavirus. Rankings featuring leaders in both made our list, because you asked for them.

Elsewhere, controversy fired you up. Take Zoom’s security issues, for instance. You were interested in the blowback as the number of the video conference’s users continued to rise.

A story on CompTIA’s many certifications going online got your attention. And Frontier Communications’ debt load finally caught up with the telecommunications provider.

So many from which to choose, but which was No. 1? We show you in the gallery below.

But you’re not taking our word for it. This is your call! Our rankings come via those articles that generated the most traffic online and click-throughs from our weekly newsletters. Don’t miss your opportunity to sign up for the channel’s hottest newsletter, delivered to your inbox weekly. Because no one wants to wait until the first of the month to read about the most popular topics in the channel.

Missed the previous month’s top stories? Click here to see our most-read posts in March.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — Fiber-Lit Building Rankings

AT&T is again the top dog in U.S. fiber-lit buildings. This is the fourth consecutive year the carrier has claimed the top spot in Vertical Systems Group's leaderboard. 

To qualify, the 13 providers on the list had to have 10,000 or more on-net U.S. commercial fiber buildings at the end of 2019. 

See who else made the list.
BitTitan's Kevin Serpanchy
#11 — BullsEye's New Channel Sales VP

BullsEye's Tony Franchi

BullsEye's Tony Franchi

BullsEye Telecom's latest hire caught your eye last month. Tony Franchi, previously with 365 Data Centers and CenturyLink, is BullsEye's new vice president of channel sales.

Franchi will manage BullEye’s channel sales team, and make sure they have the info and support they need. He told Channel Partners that BullsEye's 20-year success story was a big reason he came on board.

Learn more about Franchi's new gig.
SYNNEX's Joe Pittillo
#10 — Cisco, Google Do SD-WAN Cloud Hub

Cisco Systems and Google Cloud teamed up to tackle SD-WAN and cloud complexity with a new product. Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub with Google Cloud arrives as more businesses adopt hybrid clouds and multiclouds.

Hybrid and multicloud adoption can make networking tricker. This new service aims to simplify it. Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub with Google Cloud will be available to partners later this year.

Get the full scoop here.
2020 Cox Business logo
#9 — COVID-19 & Tech Layoffs

You've seen the record-breaking employment numbers from the federal government due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So it should come as no surprise that the tech industry could see an impact as well.

In a story published in late March, we told you how there could be some ups and downs for tech employment. Janco Associates told us that IT pros who already work remotely are more protected from a layoff. But "those working on legacy systems at companies that have not moved toward mobile computing for enterprise operations are at the greatest risk."

Janco’s Victor Janulaitis


Opengear's Mark Hughes
#8 — Channel and IT Salary Report

Money, money, money ... money! Our special report, "Channel & IT Salary Reports: 8 Key Takeaways," saw a resurgence online last month.

Those takeaways include why if you cut corners on compensation, you'll struggle to recruit and retain talent. The report also explains why cloud and security skills rank among the most in-demand area. And the majority of channel pros are satisfied in their current role, but that doesn’t mean your people might not be looking for a better opportunity.
Exclusive Networks' Nigel Gilhepsy
#7 — Windstream & COVID-19

A lof of companies in the channel are going the extra mile to help partners and customers during the COVID-19 crisis. So when Windstream said it would offer its OfficeSuite UC and HD meeting services free for 90 days, you listened.

The deal is for all new and existing customers. The move is to help support businesses implementing new remote work-from-home environments.

Here is what else you need to know about the offer.
BullsEye Telecom's Tony Franchi
#6 — CompTIA Certification Testing

Certifications might not be sexy, but you soaked up information about CompTIA's latest online offer. The IT industry association said it is collaborating with Pearson VUE on an online testing option for its certification exams. They are available anytime, anywhere, via Pearson VUE's OnVUE online proctoring service.


CompTIA says online testing is ideal because it allows certification candidates to test in a highly secure environment.  OnVUE remote proctoring ensures all candidates test under the same secure monitoring conditions as a test center. And all CompTIA certifications are available except for Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+).

Lenovo's Steve Biondi
#5 — Telecom-IT Layoff Tracker

Every so often, we break down how and why big-name companies in the channel are laying off workers. Some are on the front lines, while others are executives and yet others work in the channel.

Our latest edition is pre-COVID, but we uncovered more job cuts than you might expect. AT&T, CenturyLink, VMware and Cisco were among those that axed jobs in the six months prior.

See who else was letting people go.
Kudelski Security's Ernie Anderson
#4 — Zoom Security Issues

You were interested in a pair of stories we did on security issues surrounding the Zoom video conferencing platform.

The first involved the FBI's warning about video teleconferencing (VTC) hijacking, also called “Zoom-bombing,” emerging nationwide. The follow-up discussed new questions about lax security practices and how school districts and other organizations started to ban Zoom. The harshest criticism came from Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights and Technology, who said Zoom "lied" about encryption practices.

We recently interviewed Zoom's Kevin Thomsen on the Channel Partners podcast, Coffee with Craig and Kevin. He told us how Zoom is signing up a skyrocketing number of partners to sell its platform.
Poly's Peter Jakobsen
#3 — SD-WAN Rankings

Surveys ranking the top SD-WAN providers in the industry frequently make our list. This one, which we published on March 26, featured Cisco, Silver Peak, Versa Networks, VMWare and Fortinet at the top.

Dell'Oro Group conducted the study. The firm's researchers said those five companies accounted for 60% of revenue share in 2019.

Learn why Dell'Oro Group analysts expect shifts in market share and rampant consolidation in the coming months.
Kudelski Security's Ernie Anderson
#2 — 20 Top UCaaS Providers

Speaking of rankings, our third annual list highlighting 20 of the industry's top UCaaS providers came in at No. 2 in April. As usual, we polled members of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board and industry analysts.

8x8, Avaya and RingCentral are among those that cracked the prestigious list. Find out who else made it and why.
Google Cloud's Shailesh Shukla
#1 — Frontier Bankruptcy

It's an understatement to say news about Frontier Communications' bankruptcy was a popular read last month. In fact, three stories about were the top three stories of the month. We just grouped them all into one for the purposes of our rankings.

The most popular was a story on April 1 that said the company would file for chapter 11 soon. The second most read was a follow-up where we learned that most in the industry weren't surprised by the news.

“This bankruptcy filing is likely because they’ve reached that point in time where the scales are finally tipped against the continued operation of the copper network,” Rick Beckers, CEO of XaaS1, told Channel Partners. “It doesn’t make financial sense anymore. And I assume the bankruptcy filing is their attempt to jettison the debt built up over time from maintaining that old network. They should have been preparing for the final shift away from plain old telephone service (POTS) and DSL.”

And a third story, published back in January, was the third most popular. It focused on how bankruptcy was likely "the only way out" of the company's financial troubles.

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