By Amee Kent

2018-03-06

Hybrid

We heard one resounding theme at the NTCA 2018 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & Expo (RTIME) last week in Austin — rural local exchange carriers (RLECs) are on the hunt for new lines of revenue.

Shifts in both government incentives and customer expectations have led RLECs to invest in expensive fiber optic runs. And RLECs know all too well that those investments won’t be recouped by traditional cable, voice, and text services alone.

That’s why many RLECs are beginning to offer cloud services and IT consulting to take advantage of their high-speed fiber, meet some of their small business customers’ biggest challenges, and add new revenue streams. As a company that partners with and is owned by a collective of RLECs, we at Codero were curious: how are customers responding so far?

We surveyed 90 RLEC participants representing 55 companies from around the country to find out whether their customers were getting on board with modern IT offerings. Here’s what we found:

RTIME Survey Results

Cloud Adoption High

A whopping 86 percent of RLECs said their customers were using cloud technologies. This is perhaps unsurprising, as companies and consumers have rapidly become reliant on cloud-based storage, backup and recovery, and a variety of SaaS applications to meet day-to-day needs.

It’s a good sign for RLECs that their customers are comfortable with the cloud delivery model, but if the RLEC isn’t the one providing those cloud services, it means someone else is making the return on their fiber investment.

Disaster Recovery Preparation High

Sixty-three percent of RLECs said customers had a disaster recovery plan. This probably wouldn’t have been the case just a few years ago, but the advent of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) has made recovery preparedness more attainable for small businesses.

This number also shows rural customers understand the importance of disaster recovery. Once again, it’s simply incumbent upon RLECs to ensure they are the preferred DRaaS provider for their customer base.

Microsoft Office 365 Adoption Low

On the other end of the spectrum, only 38 percent of RLECs said their customers currently use Microsoft Office 365. The implication is that many rural customers are still operating on legacy versions of the Office suite, leaving a large opportunity for RLECs to provide migration and management services to help them update to the cloud-based version.

How to Build New Revenue Streams

Codero has long partnered with RLECs to build revenue streams around IT services and managed solutions, including cloud storage, backup, and DRaaS. And at RTIME, we announced the addition of Microsoft Office 365 to our offerings for partners and customers.

Building new revenue streams doesn’t mean you have to recruit in-house expertise and set up new infrastructure and virtualization capabilities. It can actually be as simple as having a conversation with our partner team.

RLECs have a unique opportunity to be the single point of contact for their customers’ technology needs. If you’re not expanding your revenue streams into cloud-based technologies right now, you’re not making the most of your fiber investments. Worse still, you’re missing out on an opportunity to meet a pressing customer need.

Read more in our inaugural RTIME edition of RLEC Matters.
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