ISPs gain as small business goes online, IDC says

Internet service providers (ISPs) are tapping opportunities within the small-business market by offering advanced or enhanced telecommunications services, according to a recent report from IDC.

ISP's small business offerings are expanding to include high-speed access, virtual private networks, e-commerce, remote access and voice services, according to an IDC officials yesterday.

Additionally, ISPs are forming alliances with vendors in their distribution channels in order to take advantage of those partners' technical expertise and existing business relationships with small companies, IDC said. There will be an increasing trend to develop channel partnerships in the future, IDC predicts.

ISP distribution channel partners include communications and computer equipment suppliers, value-added resellers, competitive local exchange carriers, incumbent local exchange carriers and traditional distributors.

ISP channel partners provide technical expertise, and bundled products and services that companies need in order to continue expanding, said IDC. Initially, small companies buy directly from wholesalers or distributors, but turn to channel partners as the companies expand, according to IDC.

In addition to establishing partnerships, small and mid-sized ISPs are launching marketing and sales programs targeted at small businesses, the market researcher said.

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