Sara Baack, Level 3: Moving customers to SIP trunking

FierceTelecom: One of the tenets of the new service is SIP trunking. Seeing that SIP trunking is still relatively nascent, are you seeing continued pickup for this service or is what's being done based on what stage each enterprise is in with its own telephony infrastructure?

Baack: That's a really good question. We're actually seeing an explosion, if that's not an overstatement, in the amount of interest in the beginning adoption of SIP trunking among our enterprise customer base. I think that's catalyzed by a number of things. It first has to do with many companies having already overcome the end of life PBX scenarios where they have had to upgrade to an IP PBX, and are using that IP PBX to converge some of their infrastructure on the inside of their WAN.

Level 3 SIP trunkingI think the industry and Level 3 has done a better job articulating to the enterprise customer the cost savings of moving to SIP trunking in terms of collapsing access costs, using bandwidth more efficiently across a network footprint and not having to manage a separate voice and separate data network. The other thing we learned from talking to enterprises is they are asking how we extract that cost savings and efficiency out of my network at the same time positioning that network to do what my customers inside the enterprise want, which are greater convergence of communications and obviously the notion of unified communications (UC). The movement to UC is one where the user is mobile and they understand the presence of everyone they are working with and do higher layer applications across different communications mediums quickly and efficiently. We think SIP trunking is really foundational to customers being move to UC and adopt UC at the application layer. It's really a win-win for enterprise because SIP trunking provides not only cost savings, but also better employee productivity. 

FierceTelecom: So is SIP trunking becoming more of a foundation for enterprise customer's movement into Unified Communications?

Baack: The SIP protocol is very flexible in managing media streams. While SIP today is primarily used primarily for voice, there's nothing stopping it from being used to manage video sessions between devices and foster communications between different types of converged framework if you will. What we're actually seeing is that adoption across industry segments. While I am not at liberty to disclose customer names, one of the largest implementations we recently completed was for a global energy company who wanted to move their 17,000 lines to SIP for their U.S. footprint. We've done implementations in the retail space, financial space and the insurance industry. We are definitely seeing at the large enterprise level a desire to move SIP and an appetite to do some of that on an a la carte basis versus our CBN announcement, which is leveraging that exact same SIP capability but doing so in a way that's easy to contract and manage.

Sara Baack, Level 3: Moving customers to SIP trunking