Clint Heiden, Sidera Networks

Clint Heiden, Sidera

Heiden (Image source: Sidera)

Clint Heiden, President of Sidera Networks, is an opportunist with a careful hand that can balance out what any competitive provider can deliver in the near and long-term.

Heiden is probably best known as one of the creators of the Intellifiber wholesale division at Cavalier Telephone, a company that was later purchased by PAETEC and then ultimately Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) in 2011.

Following the completion of Windstream's acquisition of PAETEC, Heiden quickly was appointed as the new president of Sidera Networks.

During his tenure at PAETEC and Intellifiber, Heiden and his team built out a 17,000-mile fiber network, in addition to a wide-reaching Ethernet over Copper (EoC) network, not to mention netting 500 Department of Defense (DoD) customers.

After arriving at Sidera last December, Heiden told FierceTelecom in an interview that his first priority was to develop a management team and to address near-term and long-term opportunities.

"Part of what I did when I came on last December is I really wanted to understand the strengths and the pedigree and the easy opportunities of growth before I got into what would be the more innovative longer-term areas," he said.

To fulfill that management team need, he hired a number of well-known telecom industry veterans. This new group includes the likes of Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN) veteran Joe Cumello as VP of marketing, Rob Hopewell as VP of sales, Duncan Puller as the VP of cloud services, and Glenn Calafati, VP Technology & Product Development.

One of those near-term opportunities is the financial services vertical. About $7 trillion in trades clear their network from a number of brand name financial companies.  

In one instance, Heiden said Sidera was able to beat out another well-known unnamed service provider for a large financial company's business because it had the shortest low-latency network path the client needed.  

But to get more customers on board, Heiden knew he needed to create more brand awareness for the service provider, which was created when ABRY Partners purchased RCN in 2010 and parsed out the residential and business units as seperate standalone entities: RCN serving residential customers and then RCN Metro as Sidera.

"One of the things that Joe and I found as we came to Sidera was that one our strengths was assets, but one of our weakness was  our lack of pedigree in brand because we came from multiple companies as Sidera and we only branded the business as Sidera a year ago," Heiden said. "In the marketplace people don't have a real good understanding of who Sidera is so that's what we're trying to do to create that presence of who we are and what we're about."

From a long-term network services perspective, Heiden and his team are being no less aggressive. Set to be completed by the end of 2013, Sidera will add 1,000 route miles to the service provider's East Coast footprint with more connections in Virginia and the southern states.

This recent network expansion wasn't driven by a build-it-and-they-will-come mentality. Instead, Heiden revealed that it was being built to satisfy a large customer opportunity that at the time he could not reveal, adding that another customer has also already signed on to use the new network

Ultimately, this expansion effort will extend its network reach into three other areas, particularly North and South Carolina, Miami, and Latin America.

"This is actually a huge commitment to move further south," Heiden said. "We will start leveraging this to move into a broader part of North Carolina and ultimately this may be our gateway to Miami and South America."