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

No Dog Days Here

Despite summer break, August was ablaze with telecom-related news coming out of the government as the Federal Communications Commission closed its open comment period on its proposed Net Neutrality rollback. At the same time, the U.S. General Services Administration announced the 10 service providers that earned a spot on its coveted Enterprise Infrastructure contract. Meanwhile, public-sector telecom providers and master agents continued to churn out new offerings and build out their teams.

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

Net Neutrality Comment Period Ends

Aug. 30 marked the last day of the open comment period on the FCC's proposal to dissolve the standing Net Neutrality rule-making.

The proposal, brought on by FCC Director Ajit Pai, received a record number of comments -- nearly 22 million -- with the majority of unique comments calling for the FCC to keep current net neutrality rules and classification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, according to a study funded by Internet service providers.

The FCC said it will only consider the quality of the comments, not the quantity.

Windstream Enhances Cloud Connect Solution

Telecom provider Windstream released an updated version of its Cloud Connect offering, adding the ability to connect to new, third-party providers.

Windstream's Cloud Connect now allows business to build dedicated and secure high-speed connections directly to major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, Google Cloud, Oracle Fast Connect and Salesforce, according to Little Rock, Ark.-based Windstream.

Cloud Connect is available through Windstream channel partners today.

U.S. GSA Names Service Providers Awarded $50B Federal Contract

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) selected 10 service providers with advanced software-defined networking technology and expertise as winners of its 15-year, $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract.

According to the GSA, telecom giants AT&T, CenturyLink, Verizon, BT, and solution provider MetTel are among the group of companies awarded the contract.

The newly awarded contract marks the first time that the GSA included systems integrators and solution providers with fewer than 500 employees as possible candidates for the contract.

TPx Expands Channel Leadership Team

Service provider TPx Communications, formerly TelePacific Communications, has brought on a new channel manager as part of its nationwide channel program expansion. Shane Gossert has joined TPx as channel manager of the Mid-Atlantic region. Based in Washington D.C., Gossert formerly served as director of channel sales for CallTower.

TPx in August also promoted longtime channel director Hilary Gadda to director of national channel development.

Both Gossert and Gadda will report to Jim Delis, vice president of national channel development for TPx.

TBI Grows SD-WAN Portfolio

Chicago-based Master agent TBI has expanded its SD-WAN portfolio via a new partnership with SD-WAN provider Big Leaf Networks.

TBI partners now have access to Big Leaf's over-the-top SD-WAN solutions, including functionality such as same IP address failover, intelligent load balancing and dynamic QoS, according to the two companies.

Big Leaf is the latest edition to TBI's growing SD-WAN portfolio, which includes CloudGenix, MetTel, Verizon, AT&T and Windstream.

Intelisys Builds Up Solutions Engineering Team

Master agent Intelisys has, for the seventh time, expanded its team of solutions engineers. Michael Gorman, based in Southern California, is now supporting the Petaluma, Calif.-based company's partners in the Southwest.

Gorman has more than 25 years of engineering and sales experience from his work with vendors such as Cisco, Broadsoft, Nutanix, AWS and Zerto. He most recently served as senior director of technical presales for Inference Solutions.