Saddleback Communications is an incumbent local exchange carrier founded in 1997 by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to provide communications services on the reservation. But Saddleback Communications is not different from other ILECs when it comes to growth strategies. Saddleback Communications is in the certification process in the state of Arizona to become a competitive local exchange carrier as well, which would give it authorization to sell services outside its ILEC territory in competition with other ILECs and cable companies.

“That is key to our growth plans for the next eight to 10 years,” says says Shane Gregory, Saddleback Communications director of operations.

“Our vision is to create an all-IP CLEC,” says Gregory. In part, that means selling hosted IP telephony services. But it also means using private peering relationships with other ISPs for local and core network bandwidth. That’s one reason much initial activity has been focused on getting “peering” or IP interconnection relationships with other ISPs.

“Reinvent,” the brand name for the new CLEC operation, expects to use SIP trunking as a primary local access method. Historically, Saddleback has provided wholesale services for 13 resellers, with a concentration among smaller businesses and organizations with 15 to 20 seats.

But one advantage of the new IP interconnection agreements is that Saddleback will be able to target more organizations and businesses with 30 to 50 seats. those are the sorts of customers that can justify using a SIP trunk, and will be “key” to the CLEC’s revenue potential, says Gregory.

Saddleback has for some time provided wholesale services to retail partners within Arizona, and even, in a few cases, to retail organizations as far away as Wyoming or Seattle.

In principle, Reinvent could “opt in” to CLEC agreements in the 14-state former Qwest region, for example. That isn’t the way Reinvent will focus its new business, as the firm intends to operate in Arizona only.

What will be interesting is how Reinvent can further develop the notion of being an “all IP” CLEC. Cloud computing, for example, assumes that applications, features and services can be delivered to local users from servers located “arbitrarily” elsewhere. The larger issue, going forward, is how Reinvent or other providers might be able to use “cloud” concepts in a more-substantial way even in the CLEC business.

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