WOW! Business announced recently that it would begin offering its business-grade VoIP service to smaller businesses in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. The company also announced a wiring plan for businesses that still use premises networks.
Englewood, Colorado-based WideOpenWest (WOW!) provides Internet, cable, and phone service for the consumer and business markets in 13 states. WOW! is owned by Avista Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity company.
The company’s business division, WOW! Business, offers phone, data, cloud and Internet service and has three different packages for businesses ranging from those with only a handful of employees to large enterprises. Hosted Basic service is a simple, entry level voice solution. Hosted Office has more features in a mid-range package and Hosted Professional is the deluxe package.
Two package deals targeting small businesses include Internet service, routers and handsets. The five user package is $275; the ten user package $499.
A report by Frost & Sullivan found that in 2013, more than two-thirds (68.3 percent) of hosted IP telephony and UCC users came from small businesses, defined as those with no more than 50 users. If you add the 17 percent of businesses between 50-500 users, this means that 85 percent of the user base was in small to medium sized businesses (SMB). SMBs are expected to continue to make up the majority of users through 2020 although the small business portion will decrease over that time.
An interesting result of the report was that the smaller the business, the more likely it was to adopt a hosted VoIP solution. In the past, many advanced communications technologies were too costly for small businesses. Hosted VoIP does not fit this pattern, however. The scalability of this technology makes it affordable and accessible to smaller businesses.
If GE hired 15 more people, the impact on their IT resources would be microscopic at best. If a small business with only 5 employees hired 15 more people, it’s a major expansion. It’s easy therefore, to see why SMBs make up the lion’s share of hosted IP telephony users and why WOW! targets that segment. It’s simply good business.