July 1, 2010
Commercial Sales Team of the Year: Midcontinent Communications
Midcontinent has raised the bar for what it means to provide high-speed Internet to small businesses.
The operator has become known for offering a wide array of options for small- and medium-size businesses and recently launched a high-speed network for commercial customers. "As Congress is looking at how to improve the success of small businesses through broadband deployment in smaller areas, Midcontinent is an example of a company doing that," says NCTA VP Lisa Schoenthaler, the association’s point person for rural and small system operators.
Despite a sluggish economy, Midcontinent has maintained its strong track record for commercial sales, logging double-digit revenue growth (12%-22%) each year for the last five. That’s largely because Mark Powell, the company’s VP of Business Solutions, integrated the advertising group and commercial sales group in 2005. The result was a management structure comprised of four regional managers who focus on selling to small and medium-size businesses.
But Midcontinent is going after larger game, too. In early 2009 it launched the Northern Plains Network, a high-speed fiber-optic network that links major cities in those two states and Minnesota. The high-end network has allowed Midcontinent to expand beyond smaller businesses and land commercial accounts with enterprise customers such as banks, government agencies and medical facilities, according to Powell.
"The new network is really the next revenue stream," he says. "Having access to that level of customer that, quite frankly, we would never have dreamt of going to visit is huge."
Next up is Metro Ethernet. Powell says customers can use that service to create their own private networks to ride on top of the existing Northern Plains Network.
Midcontinent serves some 200K customers in the Dakotas and Minnesota and is jointly owned by Midcontinent Media and Comcast.
Launched in 2009, the high-end fiber optic Northern Plains Network connects some 240 communities in the Dakotas and Minnesota.