Across The Telecom Spectrum: 6 Moves That Made Waves In The Channel In July

What Summer Slump?

The telecommunications industry stayed on its hot streak in July. Service providers – both big and small -- were busy picking up more fiber assets and pumping out new offerings in an effort to stay competitive with their partners and customer base. At the same time, carriers and master agents continued to bring on new executives and resources for the channel.

Here are six newsworthy items that happened in the telecom industry last month that solution providers should know about.

FirstLight Set To Acquire 186 Communications For Fiber Assets

Telecommunications service provider FirstLight inked a deal to purchase fiber network operator 186 Communications to dramatically expand its fiber network across the Northeast.

FirstLight, based in Albany, N.Y., is looking to become one of the largest fiber providers serving carriers and business customers in the Northeast region. Nashua, N.H.-based 186 Communications' high-capacity fiber network throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, coupled with FirstLight's pending acquisition of Finger Lakes Technologies Group, will give FirstLight about 14,000 route fiber miles connecting 8,000 locations and 12 data centers in the area.

The acquisition of 186 Communications is expected to close at the end of 2017, and financial terms have not been disclosed.

AT&T Introduces APIs, IoT Training Certification For Partners

AT&T rolled out an IoT certification and revealed new self-service tools to help its AT&T Partner Exchange members take advantage of mobility opportunities.

The new APIs inject automation into mobility for partners. The APIs let partners suspend and restore services for their customers, manage customer information for billing and reporting, and update rate plans, according to the Dallas-based carrier.

The latest certification track is solution-based training aimed at helping partners go after IoT opportunities. The training will help partners understand technologies and resources needed for IoT solutions, AT&T said.

Level 3 Delivers Amazon Chime UC Offering To Business Customers

Telecom service provider Level 3 Communications, which is in the process of being acquired by CenturyLink, revealed its latest unified communications offering in partnership with Amazon.

Amazon Chime, a videoconferencing, voice calling and content sharing tool, is now being delivered to business customers by Level 3. The global offering runs on AWS and is managed and supported by Level 3, which gives customers access to Level 3's service-level agreements for reliability and uptime. The offering is available now to Level 3 customers in North America and EMEA.

Comcast Begins Wireless Service Rollout

Cable giant Comcast first revealed it would be entering the wireless market in April, and the provider began the retail rollout of its wireless service, Xfinity Mobile, in the Northwest in July.

The new wireless service is now available in stores in Oregon and Southwest Washington state. Comcast is offering two data options -- an unlimited data plan for $45 per month, or $12 per GB of shared data and 100 MB of shared data to start with, according to the Philadelphia-based provider.

Xfinity Mobile relies on telecom provider Verizon's network per an MVNO agreement and Comcast's 16M Wi-Fi hot spots.

ONAP Project Adds New Members, Comcast Included

At the end of the month, the Open Network Automaton Platform (ONAP) Project announced several new members that will be contributing to the open-source effort to automate networks. Cable giant Comcast was one of the companies that has joined the ranks, according to ONAP.

Comcast joins more than 10 global mobile service operators that are working with ONAP today to help build a more "connected" world, the organization said. Other new members include Fujitsu, Infosys, Netcracker Technology and Samsung.

BullsEye Brings On New Channel Manager

BullsEye Telecom, a provider of business telecommunications services, has hired a new alternate channel manager for the Texas market, Kathryn Young.

Young has more than 20 years of experience in account and telecom agent partner management, even having served for a solution provider organization as its senior vice president of operations -- LAM Technology. In her new role, Young will lead recruitment, training and managing of channel agents, and will help build BullsEye's customer base through its partner base, according to Southfield, Mich.-based BullsEye.