Birch Communications unveils new branding effort, wholesale service business

Birch Communications, a competitive service provider targeting small and medium-sized businesses, has launched a new branding campaign called "Branch Out."

With a focus on the SMB that may have a few or just one location, the "Branch Out" theme is about responding to what tools customers need to effectively build out their own businesses.

During the year, the service provider will roll out a series of new wireline, wireless and even financial services for businesses through its partnership with one of its creditors, Bank of America.

Birch will initially offer SMBs a wireless ATM solution. Based on its Birch Breeze wireless data product, the wireless ATM service will allow SMBs (i.e., bars, laundromats or retail shops) that have on-site ATM machines to transmit information wirelessly.

"A number of our small to medium business customers own ATMs, which are located in restaurants and bars, so we have got a wireless data offering that can connect those ATM back to the wider world using our wireless cards," said Vincent Oddo, president and CEO of Birch.

Given the challenges of dealing with high fees for credit card transactions, Birch is providing a merchant process service through its partnership with Bank of America that it says will provide lower merchant processing rates.

"A lot of our customers are retail customers that do a lot of debit and credit card transactions and typically can't get the best rates on clearing that stuff and it's gotten more expensive in recent years," Oddo said. "But if they are a Birch customer through our partnership with Bank of America, we can pass along the rates we're getting that are much lower than what our customers can get on their own."

Oddo added that the CLEC will offer a series of other financial products for SMBs throughout 2012.

But the Branch Out theme is not just about retail services alone. Having already spent over $50 million to build out an IP network in the Southeast and Southwest , the service provider is launching its new wholesale operation, Birch Carrier Solutions.

The wholesale group will offer a series of voice, POTS, T1, ADSL2+ services to other local competitive service providers.

"We spent almost $50 million building our own network over the past several years and got to the point last year and said we built this thing across two growing regions--the Southeast and the Southwest--and it was very appropriate for us to launch a wholesale offering," Oddo said, adding that "we're coming in at a time when others that buy from the incumbent are feeling pressure and so we can come in a better price and give them some relief."

For more:
- see the release

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