Zayo Launches Edge Network Suite With Eye On Midmarket

“We are not the big bandwidth provider that didn’t play well with the channel anymore. We are an edge-focused, midmarket-driven growth organization that’s focused on the channel for growth,’ Frank Cittadino, senior vice president of edge services, tells CRN.


Zayo Group wants to shift away from its data center connectivity roots and into strategic services to better serve midmarket companies that are moving toward multi-cloud and hybrid IT environments.

The company Wednesday launched a new portfolio of network edge offerings that demonstrates Zayo is making good on its strategy to move into secure edge networking services, not just offering up bandwidth, according to Frank Cittadino, senior vice president of edge services for Zayo.

The communications infrastructure company in January bought SD-WAN-focused MSP QOS Networks in a move it hoped would position itself as an edge networking provider. Cittadino, formerly the CEO of QOS Networks, joined Boulder, Colo.-based Zayo when the acquisition closed earlier this year.

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“We’re not the big bandwidth company that didn’t play well with the channel as we were before. We are an edge-focused, midmarket-driven growth organization that’s focused on the channel for growth,” Cittadino told CRN.

[Related: Fiber Provider Zayo Will Go Private In $14.3 Billion Deal]

The new portfolio includes circuit aggregation, SD-WAN, managed services, voice, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), cloud connectivity and security, all with a big focus on remote user connectivity. The midmarket wants bundled solutions and channel partners are struggling to find solid network performance tied together with strong visibility and best-of-breed security, Cittadino said.

Zayo stands out from the competition by offering similar bundles because of its global backbone, Cittadino said. Many partners and end customers are “piece-mealing” edge solutions together, he added.

“There’s not really anybody out there who’s got a top 10 global network tied together with a robust edge strategy. It really doesn’t exist,” he said. “Our whole strategy is to get people on to our really high-performing network backbone and drive performance where the CLEC [competitive local exchange carrier] just has no chance.”

First up in the Zayo network edge portfolio is an SD-WAN and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) offering that’s based on QOS technology gained by Zayo. The technology will boost application performance by connecting users and the cloud with a unified security posture and network technology regardless of location or technology. The second offering is a UCaaS platform that integrates voice, chat, meetings and video. Third is a set of security offerings to fortify a multi-cloud environment, including zero trust, cloud access security broker, network firewall and distributed denial of service protection.

Next, the company is addressing Remote-Access-as-a-Service via a new offering that can boost security, performance and responsiveness of enterprise applications regardless of where they are being hosted. The last set of offerings includes managed circuit aggregation, which will let companies access a variety of connectivity options to service locations, including LTE and to 400G optimized for diversity and cost, all on one bill and one network operations center, or NOC, the company said.

Zayo is offering partners and customers all these solutions through a unique digital experience, Cittadino said. “Edge is just super-hot right now … and we’ve tied everything into our front end, where customers can use AIops to make changes to their networks,” he said.

Zayo is serious about its midmarket focus, Cittadino said. Zayo and Ontario-based business communications provider Allstream joined forces in 2017, but the two companies have largely operated independently since then. Zayo in July said that it would bring some of Allstream’s products under the Zayo umbrella to further expand voice and connectivity solutions to midsize customers across North America. Earlier this year, the company also acquired Education Networks of America (ENA) for its SLED focus.

The channel is driving about 70 percent of Zayo’s midmarket business, according to Cittadino. “Because of that, we have to build a very competitive bundle for the midmarket that they can adopt quickly that’s based on best-of-breed solutions on a game-changing network, and we feel like we’ve done that.”