oxford+data centerAs a recent announcement from Lewiston, Maine-based Oxford Networks illustrates, large national carriers are not the only ones capitalizing on the trend toward cloud-based computing.

Oxford Networks, which started life 100 years ago as a small local telco, has branched out into other lines of business over the years, including operating a fiber network between Bangor and Boston. And now the company has added a data center to its business mix.

Rather than building from the ground up, Oxford Networks has converted the former high-security Brunswick Naval Air Station into what the company is calling the Oxford Networks Data Center, from which it will deliver managed IT services, server collocation space, disaster recovery services, secure vault data storage and virtualization services. To help jumpstart its entry into the managed IT services market, Oxford Networks also acquired IT consulting firm Norton Lamb & Company.

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“The Oxford Networks Data Center provides the highest physical and infrastructure security in the state and has been redesigned to specifically meet the needs of the commercial market,” said Oxford Networks President and CEO Craig Gunderson in the data center announcement. “With the addition of Norton Lamb & Company to the Oxford Networks team, the company will be uniquely positioned to provide state of the art data center services to the commercial market.”

Oxford Networks apparently hopes to cash in on a trend toward large enterprises locating their data centers in remote areas that are distant from their headquarter locations. The data center announcement notes that the data center has multiple discrete paths to major backbones and multiple network entry points, which according to Oxford Networks makes the data center accessible to businesses across the country and worldwide.

Telcos of all sizes have experienced erosion in their traditional voice services businesses in recent years and have sought to replace lost revenues with new lines of business. A common strategy is to put a greater emphasis on the business market—and the shift to the cloud is one of the fastest growing segments of that market. In the last few years, we’ve seen Verizon, Cincinnati Bell, and other Tier 1 and Tier 2 carriers acquire existing data center operators.

Although Tier 3 markets aren’t traditionally known for being home to a large number of business customers, the Oxford Networks announcement is a reminder that the trend toward remote data warehousing could mean new opportunities for Tier 3 telcos on the business services side.

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