Brightlink IP has its eyes set on global expansion
Expanding its global network and “laying software on top of what we do” are the long and short term plans for Brightlink IP, according to its chief technology officer, Joe White.
Brightlink iP, the US-based communications IP provider, offers its customers a range of unified communications and collaboration services and has its plans in place to grow this offering over the next 12 months.
In keeping with the objective of laying software onto everything they do, White explains to me some of the product offerings they will supply: “So we’ve taken normal voice termination and we have a product called Liveview that sits over the top of that, so now our customers can not only see their traffic but they can see it in our network which no other carrier is out there doing.
“They can log in and see the quality stats of their voice metrics, they can overlay it with historical reports. So they can really keep an eye not only on the traffic but have an idea of what it looks like after its been handed off to us. A lot of customers they’ll have some sort of platform internally to see their calls and to see that score but no one says ‘here you can look into our network’ and see exactly what we’re doing with your call.”
White explains that, while global expansion in the long term is Brightlink’s biggest goal, it is also its biggest challenge, commenting: “I think of the biggest challenges we have is, expanding globally and how do we do that,” adding that the question is “how do we do it effectively to where we don’t have a huge cost that’s sitting out there and how do we come up with the strategy to roll that out and at the same time have revenue come in to help support that?”
He says that the majority of Brightlink customers are international and that the only reason they aren’t doing international business with them is because “we don’t have an international presence”.
Most recently, Brightlink announced the appointment of John Belanger as its new executive vice president of sales. I ask how the addition of Belanger, the well-known industry veteran, fits into the company’s wider long term goal, to which he replies: “John has been in the industry for like 30 years, more than that he’s got a pretty diverse background. He’s sold equipment, software etc., he previously worked for France Telecom (which is now Orange) which gives him good international experience. We’ve been trying to get more focus on expanding our offerings and getting into some of those international companies. John has a lot of those relationships that will help us do that.”
No doubt the current political climate in the UK would prove concerning for White in the context of Brightlink’s expansions plans, but when asked about Brexit and its impact on entering the market, surprisingly he says “I don’t think so. It maybe my naïve view but if anything I think it’ll lower the tax base for putting equipment in here [UK].”
So with that cleared up, I want to know what Brightlink’s specific plans are for the UK. “Immediately we’re looking at having an initial facility in London and that will be our anchor site for Europe,” says White. “That’ll happen in Q1 of 2018 and it will be a full PoP so we’ll have voice, data and cross connect capabilities. We also have a great hosted platform that we white label to our channel customers so that’ll have an instance here as well. It uses geographic DNS (domain name system), so depending on where the user is it picks the PoP that’s closest to it.” Beyond that he hints at sites in other regions too, adding: “We also have some global conferencing companies’ as customers, and they have sites in London, sites in Frankfurt and I think that’ll be something we look at next, so going over to Frankfurt and then something in Asia-Pacific.”
With the entire telecoms industry all a buzz with the pending roll out of 5G, I am curious to know if this factors into Brightlink’s plans and if they are preparing for it.
“I think it’s different for us in the US,” White adds. “In the US we are a wireless carrier so we’ve got a FCC (Federal Communications Commission) wireless licence. And the band that we work in is the band that people like T-Mobile are doing trials in, to utilise 5G (so 3.5Ghz and 3.7Ghz) so we operate in that same band so I think there will be some interesting opportunities that we have to partner with those companies and certainly in certain areas where we have registered antennas and we’ve got capacity there. We’re watching to see what they’re doing to see how that goes. Directly I don’t think we have planned for 5G other than it helps our OTT (over the top) customers do more. The more bandwidth they have, the better the applications they can create.”
We end the conversation on topic of any more future announcements for the company and what else we should keep an idea out for and its “All centred on product”, explains White. “A lot of it will be on the mobile enablement we can do and Liveview and all these other software platforms that we’ve built that are 100% unique to us and what we’re doing.”