Master Agent Avant Adds Cable-Based Services Through New Partnership With Comcast

Avant, a self-proclaimed born-in-the-cloud master agent, has added cable-based services to its portfolio via a newly minted partnership with Comcast.

The partnership with the cable giant will ensure solution providers have another low cost, high-speed access option to sought-after cloud and SD-WAN services for their end customers, according to Drew Lydecker, Avant's president and co-founder.

"This is a wise move on Avant's part, and it's going to give us the opportunity to add value to their partners and customers. Our network is ideally suited to complete the solution," Craig Schlagbaum, vice president of indirect channels for Comcast Business, told CRN.

[Related: Master Agent Avant Expands SD-WAN Portfolio For Solution Provider Partners]

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Avant is great at helping partners sell more complicated, next-generation deals, according to Schlagbaum. Avant partners can tack cable on as an additional connectivity option for every SD-WAN sale, for example, he said.

"Because we've tried to take the leadership position around SD-WAN, having a partner like Comcast is going to be extremely vital for us," Lydecker said.

Comcast has directly connected itself to three of the major cloud providers, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and, as of Thursday, IBM Cloud. The Philadelphia-based cable company also continues to light up buildings with fiber and is now boasting 2 million lit buildings in the U.S.

Because cable doesn't operate on the same infrastructure that local exchange carriers are using, cable offers much-needed redundancy for cloud environments, Schlagbaum said.

"Customers need both if they are going to go full cloud because if that network goes down, they have no alternative except wireless, which would choke the network."

Avant in March brought in channel veteran Shane McNamara to kick-start its brand-new cable practice. McNamara previously created a successful cable practice while at his last employer, Qology Direct, which included reselling Comcast services. McNamara told CRN that he planned on tapping those relationships once again for Avant.

The Chicago-based master agent plans to unveil partnerships with all the major cable and fiber providers in the U.S., Lydecker said.

Avant Monday also unveiled updates to its sales enablement tool, BattleApp, that partners can use to select, sell and support connectivity and channel-friendly cloud services.

BattleApp 2.1 offers an expanded fiber locating tool and data center functionality locator. The tool now lets partners more easily toggle between "front office" -- the interface partners can show their customers -- and the back-office mode, which includes commissions and billing information.

BattleApp's technology "Matrices" also have been updated to include more at-a-glance information on products and services, such as SD-WAN and cloud, Lydecker said.