USConnect understands the challenges facing today’s rural local exchange carriers (RLECs) better than most. As a New Hampshire-based holding company representing seven rural telcos across the country, the company has seen the widespread effects as government funding has begun to dry up and telcos have struggled to achieve a return on their massive fiber investments.

“That’s why we’re always augmenting. We’re always trying to invent new ways to engage the customer,” said Maurine Curtin, SVP Information Systems for USConnect.

But spinning up new product lines on a tightening budget can be prohibitively expensive, leading USConnect to look into partnership opportunities that would make adding revenue streams more feasible.


The company knew its best option was to expand customer relationships by providing more digital services on its newly installed fiber.

“As a telephone provider, we’d say, ‘We stop at the exterior wall. We provide connectivity up to the optical network terminal and then we stop,” Curtin said. “Now we try to get inside, and say, ‘What does the rest of your network look like?’”

USConnect recognized that the Codero Partner Program could help its telco subsidiaries quickly and affordably add new services that reach within customers’ walls.

USConnect has started by building new offerings that leverage Codero storage and compute, including web site hosting and disaster recovery/backup services. They also provide security cameras, alarm systems, hosted voice and WiFi networks, and expect to add more services in the near future.

“With these new offerings, our companies are able to go deep inside the home and the business,” Curtin said. “We’re now in a much better position to serve our customers and to keep building on our infrastructure investments into the future.”

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Pineland Telephone Cooperative in Metter, Georgia, began installing high-speed fiber about 12 years ago to better serve its rural customer base. However, without drastically increasing the cost of Internet to customers, it was difficult for the coop to recoup those investments with traditional federal and state government funding being threatened.

“It takes a lot of money to deploy the networks that we deploy with not a lot of revenue opportunities to make that return back,” said Dustin Durden, General Manager of Pineland.

The coop knew it would need to add new revenue streams to make the most of its investment and continue deepening customer relationships.


Building on its long-time relationship with Codero, the coop became one of the first official members of the Codero Partner Program. As Codero began to introduce more products and services that lent themselves to resale, Pineland seized the opportunity to become an early adopter and expand its own offering to customers.

Pineland has now added multiple revenue opportunities by reselling Codero managed products and services, including disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), cloud backup, and Microsoft products including Office 365, the Azure stack, and Exchange.

“Being able to have a suite of services that you can offer those customers to build additional revenue streams really helps us to make a living,” Durden said. “If you’re not offering these suites of services that Codero offers our customers, somebody else will.”

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In its 100 years as a telecommunications provider for the northwest region of Iowa, Premier Network Solutions has continuously adapted its offerings as technologies have evolved and customer needs have changed. In 2009, the long-time Codero partner began offering IT consultation services after recognizing a need for expert IT implementation and management among its small business customers.

Now Premier Network Solutions is evolving its IT offering once again with the addition of Codero DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) and Cloud Backup in order to provide its customers with business continuity and disaster recovery, an important part of any IT management program.


Premier Network Solutions’ IT consulting team employs six consultants who serve about 60 businesses throughout their service area. Their customers vary widely, from mom-and-pop shops with one or two computers to large organizations with 150-200 computers and 20 servers.

Despite their well-established brand, they knew they faced a great deal of existing competition in the IT consulting space in their region, and knew they would have to offer something truly superior to win new business in this realm.

“In our community, it’s about personal relationships,” Premier Network Solutions CTO Frank Bulk said. “We can do all the traditional marketing in terms of banner pages, billboards, and newspaper inserts, but the vast majority of the time if someone’s happy with their existing IT consultants, it’s hard to win the business away. We knew it was a better strategy to instead focus on building positive name recognition.”

Premier Network Solutions’ leaders began seeking new products and services that could help them extend their offering and better serve their customers.

With Codero, we know we’re offering our customers some of the most reliable, full-featured Cloud Backup and DRaaS solutions

- Frank Bulk, CTO


Having data security and backup measures in place is a critical part of IT infrastructure for companies, regardless of size or industry. Premier Network Solutions’ goal is to be a full-service technology solutions company, and that means providing critical recovery and cloud backup to go along with their online offerings.

Thanks to their partnership with Codero, Premier Network Solutions is able to offer Codero DRaaS and Cloud Backup services that can stand alone or be sold as part of IT bundles.

Codero DRaaS is flexible enough to meet the needs and budgets of Premier Network Solutions’ diverse customer base, as it allows businesses to decide how they want to deploy failover and is delivered as a physical and virtual appliance with DR software and flexible cloud storage targeting.

Premier Network Solutions’ customers also value the security provided by Codero Cloud Backup -- a complete secure backup with encryption and protection across devices, as well as immediate alerts should any ransomware or other malware infiltrations take place.

The Premier Network Solutions team began promoting their new DRaaS and Cloud Backup offerings through a variety of avenues:

Adding the services to Premier Network Solution’s online store

Distributing packets to businesses and homes throughout their service area

Speaking at Chamber of Commerce meetings about the dangers of ransomware and how DRaaS can help

Including the product benefits in their regular sales discussions


Adding IT consultation to their offering has spurred new, rapid growth for Premier Network Solutions, earning them 18,000 new customers and counting. After less than one year selling Codero DRaaS and Cloud Backup, Premier Network Solutions is just getting started with these services but is already seeing early success that points to a promising future.

Thus far, they’ve sold one terabyte of cloud backup and have several deals pending for DRaaS. In the coming months, Premier Network Solutions plans to market DRaaS and Cloud Backup as part of a bundle with their other services, and feels optimistic about the substantial upselling opportunities.

One of the greatest strengths of this partnership is the care that Codero puts into designing its products” Bulk said. “With Codero, we know we’re offering our customers some of the most reliable, full-featured Cloud Backup and DRaaS solutions around, and they’re going to have a good experience if they ever have to recover data. We hope they never have to actually use the products, but the fact that we offer them elevates Premier Network Solutions in our customers’ eyes and gives them more peace of mind as they operate their businesses.”

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BEK Communications has provided communications services for residents and a wide range of businesses in south-central North Dakota for the past 65 years.

BEK Communications spent more than a decade replacing their original network with modern fiber optics. More than 280,000 strand miles of fiber has been put into service so far, and it’s still growing. Along with increased fiber reach, BEK expanded their product offerings beyond traditional telco services, helping them double their customer base and triple their revenue in the last seven years.

Building the state’s fastest internet service gives BEK the ability to delve into more expandable cloud-based solutions, such as hybrid and managed hosting products. In addition, BEK offers cloud-based security, automation, surveillance, television, and voice products on a national basis, leveraging Codero’s IaaS platform.

They found early opportunities and success in partnering with Codero. Bundling the Codero Cloud Backup solution with their broadband service, for example, helps them address customer’s business continuity and backup needs.

We’re building a portfolio that serves our customers and helps them move away from unnecessary risk and infrastructure costs, Whether they’re a home user or an enterprise, the primary focus is keeping their data safe and accessible.

- Jesse Gunsch, Network and Products Manager


BEK first familiarized themselves with the Codero Cloud Backup solution by offering it to their employees for free. The test period was brief but thorough, and highly successful. BEK was ready to offer it to their subscribers soon after, knowing that Codero Cloud Backup filled an unmet need in their customer base.

“We have nearly 10,000 customers with ready access to our network,” Gunsch said. “BEK has a growing base of cloud-based customers who are outside of BEK’s Lightband Service area. Those customers know and trust the service and support they get from local cooperatives like BEK Communications. We knew we could leverage our resources and reputation to reach new residential and business clients.”


BEK released their cloud backup offering to the public in November 2017. To drive adoption and usage, they included up to 50gig of free storage for all their internet subscribers.

At the same time, BEK launched a campaign to inform current and prospective customers about the solution availability. Their TV commercials taught users how Codero Cloud Backup worked and assured them their data transfers are encrypted and secure. They also showcased how cloud backup benefits them both personally and professionally. BEK even conducted free local workshops and mixers to introduce cloud technology and services to residents and businesses.

“Misconceptions about cloud products still abound, mostly due to lack of technical knowledge,” Gunsch said. “BEK leverages their relationship with Codero to educate the customer, to create a customer experience that is trouble-free.”

Since expanding into Internet solutions, BEK has developed its own partner program. They currently have five partners that sell Codero cloud-based server hosting, with Codero Cloud Backup forthcoming.

“With a small sales staff at BEK, we all wear many hats,” Gunsch stated. “BEK is constantly looking for, and recognizing, opportunities where cloud services would be a good fit. When we see them, BEK will get Codero involved in designing a solution that will work for our customers. Having our own partner program backed by Codero gives us resources to help prospective businesses in ways we couldn’t only a few years ago.”

While the company is in the early stages of its Codero Cloud Backup push, Gunsch looks forward to the opportunity to grow the Codero partnership and reach new markets.


Interest in the product is accelerating. Although BEK isn’t the only cloud product provider in the region, more and more of their customers will likely switch to the company’s solution in the coming months. BEK Communications’ approach to their entire solutions portfolio proves the superior value in a single point of payment and support for internet, TV, phone, and data security.

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