Light Reading
In the gigabit, all-IP era, many major multi-location businesses still need POTS lines and basic broadband.

Granite Still Reaping POTS Revenue

Carol Wilson
8/12/2014
50%
50%

At a time when most service providers are racing to tout their gigabit services, one operator is finding significant success selling voice services over copper phone lines. In fact, privately held Granite Telecommunications will hit $1 billion in revenue this year doing just that on a national scale.

The Boston-based firm essentially consolidates voice and data services for multi-location clients nationally and delivers a single bill, a single point of support for changes or problems, and a single national account management team for companies including Walmart Stores Inc., CVS Caremark, Hilton, Fed-Ex, 7-11 Corp. and PetSmart. Granite Telecommunications LLC relies on wholesale contracts for local access lines with all the major telcos and many smaller ones -- the deals known as "UNE-P" arrangements under the 1996 Telecom Act -- and knits together the services so they appear seamless to its customers, which include more than half of the Fortune 100.

And while its portfolio and a new national IP network can support VoIP, SIP trunking and high-speed data services, Granite continues to see significant demand for POTS lines over copper, says COO Rand Currier.

Granite's Revenue Growth
Source: Granite Telecommunications
Source: Granite Telecommunications

"In the past two years we have introduced a lot of high-speed bandwidth products -- hosted PBXs, SIP trunks -- but 90% of our business is still POTS lines," Currier says. Granite operates a VoIP network based on a Metaswitch Networks softswitch and leased backhaul capacity, but finds many of its customers don't feel the need to update technology for its own sake.

"VoIP and MPLS sound sexy but POTS lines just work," Currier says. "If you are a Yankee Candle and you have three lines and want to migrate to a hosted solution and you want quality of service, you are not going to go to over-the-top VoIP."

Making the leap to VoIP requires more expensive phones and new wiring to connect them, and for many of Granite's customers, the features that VoIP delivers aren't in as great a demand as many once expected.

"If they have high data needs, the change might work, and if they want to do it, we will do it for them," he says. "But if they have three phone lines and a DSL line, that may be all they need."

Granite does offer MPLS-based data services and speeds from 1.5Mbit/s DSL service up to gigabit Ethernet, but much of the 60% growth in broadband revenues the company experienced in 2013 isn't at the highest end. Granite also offers its own inside wiring services and has built on that with a security offering, Granite Guard.


Want to know more developments in broadband? Check out our dedicated broadband channel here on Light Reading.


The company's appeal is built largely on the software platform it created and operates to give its customers what looks like a single network with a flat, national rate plan. Customers have one place to call for support and their own customer portal for tracking reporting at a per-store, regional or corporate level. That allows companies with a lot of locations to detect where things aren't going as expected -- i.e., possible fraud or misuse -- but also to determine how facilities can be used most effectively.

"We can usually offer companies savings -- although we aren't selling ourselves as the cheapest game in town," Currier says. Granite was actually able to keep growing during the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, in part because companies were looking for approaches which gave them flexibility to cut back services if they had to cut headcount.

Competitively, Granite does bump into CLECs such as EarthLink Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK) and MegaPath Inc. , but finds its major competition is still big telecom players -- from whom it also buys services.

Granite continues to look at new products and to scope out its options for new products and services, but the company isn't looking to push its clients off what is working well for them. One complication might be the potential shutdown of copper networks by the largest local telcos -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) -- which are all looking for ways to migrate away from aging networks that are costly to maintain.

Currier says Granite is keeping a close eye on how discussions around the future of the copper plant evolve at the FCC.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 8:53:59 PM
So What Happens If POTS Dies?
This is an interesting story, who knew that someone could outdo the traditional telcos at their own game. But as pointed out:

One complication might be the potential shutdown of copper networks by the largest local telcos -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) -- which are all looking for ways to migrate away from aging networks that are costly to maintain.

What happens then? And how much notice will  Granite get from it's suppliers for a real surprise event? Maybe it's now getting good bulk rates because Verizon, Centurylink and others know this isn't going to last forever. Kind of a going out of business pricing sale?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration

11|21|14   |   04:29   |   (7) comments


At the Alcatel-Lucent Technology Symposium, Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how SDN has reshaped the discussion around packet and optical integration.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Highlights at BBWF 2014

11|20|14   |   3:40   |   (1) comment


Broadband World Forum is one of the world's largest telecoms, media and technology events with over 7,800 senior executives from across the globe converging on Amsterdam every year to identify the Next Big Thing. BBWF is an exciting place to meet the entire industry under one roof and identify the latest in network innovation, service optimization and customer ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How Will BCMS Stimulate Margin for Broadband Operators?

11|19|14   |   6:52   |   (0) comments


In BBWF 2014, Liu Shuqing emphasizes the value of FMC 2.0 based full service experience by throwing light on the BCMS solution. The underlying principle of this innovative technique is to create network robustness and driving network from connection oriented to ACE – BAND oriented infrastructure, in which applications, cloud, and user experiences will be an asset ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
SingleFAN3.0: Better Connected Experience

11|19|14   |   3:06   |   (1) comment


At the BBWF 2014, David Hu, the VP of Huawei Access Network Product Line, talked about the future of access networks – SingleFAN3.0: faster broadband, wider coverage, and smarter connection.
LRTV Interviews
Basil Alwan Interview: The Road to Cloud

11|19|14   |   09:09   |   (0) comments


Alcatel-Lucent's head of IP and Transport talks about the migration towards a web-like networking environment, the impact of the cloud, SDN and NFV, and the yet-to-be-announced FP4 chip.
LRTV Documentaries
FairPoint Makes a Fair Point About Analytics

11|19|14   |   1:56   |   (1) comment


The US-based communication service provider gets to grips with advanced analytics, tackling data and breaking down the silos within its own business.
LRTV Documentaries
Analytics Lets C Spire Get to Know Subs

11|19|14   |   3:01   |   (2) comments


It's all about the data for US operator C Spire as it uses analytics to personalize its customer service down to individual subscribers.
LRTV Interviews
Nuage Branches Out With SDN: CEO Interview

11|17|14   |   9:32   |   (0) comments


Sunil Khandekar, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent's SDN-focused unit Nuage Networks, talks about the opportunities and challenges of breaking out of the data center into wide-area networks.
Light Reedy
Telecom Analytics Grows Up

11|14|14   |   1:15   |   (4) comments


The big data analytics debate has moved on from a year ago, with some experts suggesting it's no longer a technology challenge.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Compass

11|14|14   |   3:17   |   (1) comment


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Shuo Yang, Huawei Principal Cloud Infrastructure Architect introduced Huawei Compass, the software tool for solving customers' problems on the journey of OpenStack Cloud.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Cloud Strategy in European Region

11|14|14   |   2:56   |   (1) comment


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dr. Gotz, CTO of Huawei IT in European Region introduced Huawei's cloud strategy in European region.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Contribution on OpenStack

11|14|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dennis Gu, Huawei Chief Architect of Cloud Computing introduced the relationship between OpenStack and cloud computing, and Huawei's contribution on OpenStack.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 12, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
Bell Labs Chief Slams 'Toy' Networks
Robert Clark, 11/19/2014
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 11/21/2014
Google, AT&T, BT Unite on Network Data Models
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 11/20/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed