CRN Exclusive: CenturyLink Execs Detail New Channel Focus, Plans To Bring Top IT Vendors To Its Telecom Partners

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Betting Big On The Channel

CenturyLink last month introduced its first multitiered channel program, Ascend, which replaced a seven-year-old program that treated all partners the same. CenturyLink also introduced four new paths that partners can take with the company: the System Integration Alliance for system integration partners, the Software Alliance for software industry-focused developers, the Strategic Alliance for third-party vendor partners, and the Channel Alliance for solution providers.

The company also unveiled plans to offer data center IT products from its Strategic Alliance partners, such as NetApp and Cisco Systems, through its Channel Alliance partners. Those partners, who have traditionally focused more on the cloud and communications market, can use the offerings to add value to their telecom clients.

CenturyLink's Bill Corbin, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and channel operations, and William Hurley, chief marketing officer, recently sat down with CRN to explain the significance of the changes in the channel program. Corbin and Hurley also discussed how CenturyLink's planned $34 billion acquisition of Level 3 Communications will impact its channels. Here's what they had to say.

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