Horizon Telcom Case Study

Horizon saved millions leveraging Alianza’s cloud-native platform.

Before Alianza: Challenges with VoIP Partner’s Coverage


Rural Local Exchange Carrier (RLEC)


Enterprise Voice and Broadband Services


Alianza’s SIP Trunking and Business Cloud Communications


Horizon has provided telecom services for over 125 years, initially as one of the first telephone companies in Ross County, and now providing cutting-edge fiber-optic connectivity, including voice and internet services throughout Ohio and bordering states.

Key Challenges

Within their incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), Horizon owned their switch infrastructure and utilized a VoIP partner for connectivity outside their footprint. However, because their VoIP partner had limited customer features and were unable to service the entirety of Horizon’s footprint, Horizon was unable to service all customer segments.

Due to rising consumer demands for collaboration and communication solutions, Horizon was at a crossroads: They could either build their own solution or vet a partner alternative that would allow them to provide coverage to their entire footprint, increase customer functionality, and expand growth and revenue opportunities.

With several infrastructure components already in place, including a softswitch, Horizon needed to make several large-scale decisions, with time and cost being their top concerns. Primarily, Horizon wanted to avoid a large upfront capital expenditure, which is typically required to expand footprint connectivity.

Goals & Requirements

Craig Drinkhall, Director of Products and Sales Engineering of Horizon Connects, commented, “we could not afford to wait a year and a half building and bringing a new product to market, or spend millions of dollars building out a large switch infrastructure with interconnects to all the ILECs within our footprint.”

He considered his extensive experience implementing Metaswitch and BroadSoft switches at three different companies, which had “required significant upfront capital and time to implement a georedundent, carrier-grade system.” During this time, a handful of his peers recommended Alianza.

Horizon required a solution that would help them overcome the following challenges:

Insufficient network coverage. Their previous VoIP partner didn’t cover Horizon’s current network and had no plans to expand, constraining Horizon’s ability meet their growth and revenue potential across their entire footprint.
Limited features. Their previous VoIP service was basic and “didn’t have anything, feature-wise, close to what we needed.”
Metaswitch replacement. The Metaswitch softswitch in Horizon’s ILEC was used for more than 10 years, and now the ease of implementation and lines deployed were less than desired.
Service Electric Cable TV
Service Electric Cable TV
Adding Horizon Hosted Voice gives us an amazing opportunity to elevate how we serve our commercial customers as they transition to modern cloud communications. Alianza's durable, agile cloud platform is well matched with our state-of-the-art fiber network and enables us to launch compelling, innovative new services without the need to build and maintain our own infrastructure.”
Craig Drinkhall, Director of Products and Sales EngineeringHorizon Telcom

Why Alianza Works for Horizon

Despite initial hesitancy from Horizon’s telecom veterans and concerns about customer resistance transitioning away from Cisco hardphones, internal testing proved Alianza’s platform and team of experts was the clear choice. Alianza’s SIP Trunking replaced Horizon’s Metaswitch softswitch, and Business Cloud Communication provided Horizon’s customers a feature-rich, voice and unified communication (UC) solution for business users with access features like auto-attendants, custom schedules, ring groups, voicemail-to-email, mobile applications, and more.


Growing Telco Revenue
Speed to Market

Last-mile fiber builds used to take 6–8 months from closing a deal to installation, but now Horizon can do it in 60 days on average.

Growing Telco Revenue
White Label Solution

Horizon leveraged Cymbus, Alianza’s separate technology brand. “We were happy we didn’t have to do the branding ourselves.”

Growing Telco Revenue
Remote Working

Business Cloud Communications provides their teams the flexibility to seamlessly transition to remote working.

Solution Components at a Glance

Business Cloud Communications
BCC features remote deployment, seamless integrations, and modern calling features like auto-attendants, call groups, virtual fax, voicemail, and more. It’s a modern solution with predictable pricing for SMBs.


Users can customize their call features and manage their voice services in the online Voice Portal.

Instant ROI

No risk or upfront investment necessary. Margins scale in-step with your customers’ needs.

Desktop & Mobile Apps

Horizon customers can utilize voice services on their smartphones, tablets, and PCs wherever they are.

SIP Trunking
Customers can upgrade to the cloud and keep their existing phones by connecting their on-premises PBX to Alianza’s VoIP network. It’s an extremely easy solution for happier customers with less effort.

Self-Maintained Solution

No in-house technical expertise required, meaning happier customers with less effort.

Right-Sized Flexibility

SIP Trunking resources are flexible, and there’s no physical installation or setup necessary.

Recurring Cost Savings

A single trunk can support hundreds of simultaneous calls, unlocking predicable billing.

Alianza’s solution was a major portion of our survival during the pandemic. We were expecting a 10% uptick in revenue, but Voice Connect accounted for over 50% of our sales in 2020.”
Craig Drinkhall, Director of Products and Sales EngineeringHorizon Telcom

Benefits of Alianza’s Cloud Model

Increased monetization of existing assets supported Horizon's mission to expand their network.

Immediate ROI. Horizon leveraged BCC into multiple tiered customer offerings, creating new highly lucrative revenues streams that Horizon can offer to all customer segments true anywhere connectivity — even outside their footprint.

Supports Fiber Build IRR. Alianza’s cloud communications solutions provides Horizon with a clear business case to increase the monetization of their existing fiber network with OTT voice and data solutions.

Increased Margins. Seats for both BCC and SIP Trunking can scale up and down to meet customer needs, resulting in monthly costs are in sync with Horizon’s growth and margins.

Cost Reduction. It’s all covered — cloud provisioning, upgrades, security, enhancements, and maintenance — so there’s no need for Horizons IT team to manage it. In addition, Horizon removed several components of OPEX required for running switch infrastructure, including engineers, administration, support personnel, and software maintenance costs.

I was very happy as the product leader to see how much work was done up front for us by Alianza. The extensive list of certified devices took a big workload off our plates. In fact, Alianza did such a good job that they recommended how we could split up device investments and scale over time.”
Craig Drinkhall, Director of Products and Sales EngineeringHorizon Telcom
Cloud communication platforms enable service providers to compete with OTT players in an increasingly competitive market.
Beware Significant Hidden Costs
Operating or building your own voice network is like an iceberg, beneath the surface lurks hidden costs.

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