Top 12 Stories in December: CenturyLink Fine, Telarus Investment, Verizon Channel Chief

Another year – and not just any year – is in the books. December finished 2020 if with the bang, which is reflected in our top 12 stories countdown for the month.

Verizon said it was consolidating its partner program and naming a new channel chief to lead it. Also, there was more master agent consolidation with AppSmart buying MicroCorp and Bridgepoint buying Clover Communications. We took a close look at what both purchases mean to the partner community.

Frontier’s pending emergence from bankruptcy and Apple’s latest product releases cracked our top 12 stories countdown once again.

Those were just a few of the stories making headlines last month.

So which was No. 1? Click through our gallery below to find out. Pull a Rip van Winkle in November? If so, check out last month’s countdown, which featured Intelisys doling out partner awards and Lumen handing out bigger commissions.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen

#12 — End of Branch-Based SD-WAN?

This edition of our recurring SD-WAN roundup column focused on extending SD-WAN to branch offices. Or, in this case, why SD-WAN should move from a branch-based approach to a user-based one.

So says QOS Networks CEO Frank Cittadino, who urged the goal to be about “ubiquitous” performance, security and reliability for end users, regardless of location. Cittadino envisions users accessing software on a laptop through an agent to access the cloud.

“... Now we’re thinking about ways to not have them route through the branch," he said. "Not route them through a hybrid data center like a typical VPN would."
Lenovo SmartHub 500

#11 — Cisco Webex Contact Center Rollout

Cisco is raising the stakes in contact center as a service by launching the new Webex Contact Center. The IT giant is emphasizing the AI and omnichannel capabilities of its revamped cloud-based CCaaS.

Cisco reportedly has invested millions of dollars and assigned hundreds of engineers to the new offering.

Read more about the competition this provides to other big channel players.

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#10 — OneLogin Hire, Promotion

Since People on the Move is one of your favorite recurring segments on our site, it's no surprise to see a personnel announcement land in our top 12.

This one is a new hire and a promotion at OneLogin, the identity access management company. It nabbed Damon Dean, formerly of Flexport and Docusign, as its new chief product officer; meanwhile, Matt Hurley got a promotion to chief revenue officer.
EPOS expand-80T environmental

#9 — Verizon Deepens SD-WAN Play

Verizon's first appearance on this countdown revolves around its deep dive into software-defined wide area networking.

The carrier is partnering with Silver Peak Systems, Versa Networks and Cisco. As a result, Verizon Business will deliver the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect edge platform as a managed service.

Verizon started working with Cisco IWAN in 2015 and added Viptela (which Cisco later acquired) in 2016. Verizon partnered with Versa Networks for SD-WAN and SD-branch in 2017.

Learn more about the channel opportunity.
QSX -ceilingspeakers

#8 — Bridgepointe Buys Clover Communications

The first of two key channel acquisitions in this countdown, master agent Bridgepointe Technologies bought fellow agency Clover Communications. Bridgepoint, which is California-based, now has a foothold on the East Coast since Clover is based in New Jersey.

Clover boasts more than 250 vendor partnerships, including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Masergy and RingCentral.

Learn more about the channel impact.
Poly Studio 2

#7 — Verizon Names Channel Chief, Consolidates Programs

Verizon decided to centralize its partner program, bringing together wireline and wireless.

The centralization brings together wireless and wireline. Verizon two years ago announced that it was restructuring into business, consumer and media-focused units. The change broke up the Verizon Wireless unit into the respective business and consumer organizations.

Wendy Taccetta will run the program as channel chief. Tom Zimmerman will oversee day-to-day channel operations. Verizon promoted both to their current positions.
Logitech Rally System

#6 — AppSmart Buys MicroCorp

AppSmart, the business technology services marketplace, continued its buying spree. This time it was master agent MicroCorp.

AppSmart, whose parent company is AppDirect, has brought WTG, Telegration, CNSG – and now MicroCorp – under its umbrella in the past two years. Its mission is to be a channel-led, one-stop shop for all B2B technology services.
Poly Voyager

#5 — Channel People on the Move

This edition of our monthly recap of new hires and promotions featured moves at Telarus and AT&T. It also featured a former CenturyLink channel executive.
EPOS Impact MB Pro 1

#4 — Telarus Gets Big Investment

For the first time ever, master agent Telarus accepted an investment from an equity firm. The money comes from Columbia Capital, which has also invested in Zayo, Cologix, Presidio and more.

Telarus’ management team will continue to lead and maintain a majority stake in the company. CEO Adam Edwards said changing market decisions were partly behind the decision. Furthermore, "the desire to provide the best experience for our partners and suppliers," he said.

Read more about this big decision.
EPOS Impact MB Pro 1

#3 — Apple Updates

Another regular on our countdown this fall is Apple. Our article on new iPads, posted in September, lands in our top 12 for yet another month.

The post offered up details on how the new devices could help business users. But it's also worth noting that their lack of 5G compatibility might have given you extra incentive to click. Oh, and the fact that new iPhones, released a month later, were also mentioned.
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#2 — Frontier Bankruptcy Exit Imminent

In our top stories countdown for the third consecutive month, this article – originally posted in October – continues to be popular.

The company, which boasts plenty of partners in our audience, expects to emerge from chapter 11 this month. It's part of a plan to cut debt by more than $10 billion. Frontier recently hired a new CEO, Nick Jeffery, to help lead the turnaround.

Read more about Frontier's plans for 2021.
Jabra Evolve with dongle

#1 — 'Unacceptable' CenturyLink Outage Draws Big Fine

Two years after the fact, the FCC levied a $500,000 fine against CenturyLink for a major network outage.

The outage, which lasted about 37 hours,  impacted CenturyLink’s delivery of some 911 calls. It also affected some Verizon customers. Service restoration began on the day it happened (Dec. 27), but network traffic wasn't normal again until Dec. 29.

After completing its investigation, the FCC's chairman called the outage "completely unacceptable." CenturyLink blamed it on faulty equipment from a third-party vendor.

Read more about the controversy and subsequent fine.

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