Fierce Telecom Leaders, Chris Ancell, executive vice president, Qwest Business Markets Group

Chris Ancell may have just recently been appointed as the executive VP of Qwest's Business Markets Group in August, but his tenure extends back to 2000 when he came to the company. Before taking his new post, Ancell served for five years as vice president of sales, western region, for Qwest's Business Markets Group. FierceTelecom recently caught up with Ancell to talk about his new role and how both large and small business customers are looking to Qwest not only for increased bandwidth speeds but also for a communications provider that can manage complex functions such as call center hosting.

FierceTelecom: Chris, you just took over as VP of Qwest's business markets group in August. Tell us about your first, well, month on the job?
Ancell: I guess over what I would say is the past few weeks has been a continuation of a lot of the customer-oriented discussions, but just with a larger group of folks. The focus is really around serving customers. To do that we're out there in front of them letting them know these are the services we have to provide and understand what are they trying to do and how do the things we have potentially enable them to do that.

FierceTelecom: So your first initial goal is to really get out there and hear what your customer's priorities and concerns are?
Ancell: Absolutely.

FierceTelecom: Has the economy had a major impact on Qwest's Business Markets Group? Are you seeing your customers scale back or delay orders?
Ancell: I don't think anyone can say the economy isn't impacting business, but what we're seeing is customers continuing to make decisions to support business growth and the business opportunities they have. We continue to make sure to get in front of them on those things. If we're in front of them talking about things that they have prioritized as requirements for their business then we'll continue to see good demand around those items.

Fierce Telecom: Are there specific service needs that your business customers are clamoring for?
Ancell: In the middle and large business space, we continue to see pretty big growth in terms of bandwidth. Qwest really leverages the core asset infrastructure that we have put in place to deliver for those customers against those increasing bandwidth requirements. Those bandwidth requirements include moving storage from place to place and moving content from place to place.

FierceTelecom: In addition to large businesses and enterprises, are you seeing more demands from SMBs, and how are you addressing them?
Ancell: We have a big focus down in that mid-market section. We continue to see that companies are making purchasing decisions. One of the advantages Qwest has in that section of the market is that we don't differentiate in terms of customer service whether they are large or small. They get equal treatment up and down that company size scale.  

FierceTelecom: Speaking of bandwidth are you seeing demand for large TDM-based circuits like DS3s or Ethernet?    
Ancell: We continue to see demand on the historically private network components, but we are seeing growth on the IP side as well. I don't know if I can say that we see it more in this space or in that space, but we continue to see the growth happen and it goes across those technologies. In more cases than not, customers are making a business decision. They are looking for support of the business decision and what are you enabling versus a technology decision.

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