Fiber partnerships are one of the most crucial assets an organization can have in today’s connectivity landscape — but when it comes to a provider like Horizon, who is at the helm? Furthermore, what’s the state of affairs on not only where the network landscape is today, but where it’s headed, and how Horizon fits into the mix?
To shed some light on recent company news, offer insights into telecommunications shifts and explore Horizon’s leadership on a more personal level, we sat down with our CEO James (Jim) Capuano for a fireside chat.
Can you give us an overview of Horizon and how it serves customers throughout the Midwest?
James Capuano (JC): Horizon provides services to the full spectrum of customers. We have a commercial business that focuses on healthcare, higher education, and enterprises — the full gamut of customers. We also have our residential division, which helps us provide services to everyone in our markets.
We provide just about the full suite of services — internet, voice, private line connectivity, high-bandwidth wavelengths and more.
Tell us a bit more about you: How did you enter telecommunications and what brought you to Horizon?
JC: I started my career in the Air Force. I worked doing all kinds of different work, and it was essentially the greatest co-op business ever. 18 years old and they let you work on so many things — it was a great job.
After that, I went to work as a field engineer for MCI Telecommunications. I’ve since worked my way through all the different levels of numerous organizations throughout my career. I was working with Horizon when the CEO position opened up, and it was a great time to align and help bolster the business’s growth and service capabilities.
Among some of Horizon’s recent announcements was a strategic acquisition in Indiana — can you tell us about that and how it fits into the company’s mission?
JC: Our focus has traditionally been on metro markets and not so much on long-haul services, but we believe connectivity into Chicago was key to helping Horizon control its destiny. Getting connectivity to a Tier I IP peering location enables us to connect our other metro markets so that we can provide expanded services to our customers.
We see significant pent-up demand in the Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton markets for high-bandwidth access into Chicago. This announcement helps expand our presence in Indiana and establish an advantageous way to meet those requirements on behalf of customers.
What would you say is Horizon’s biggest differentiator?
JC: The great thing about a company like Horizon is that we’re a boutique service provider. We’re very consultative, and we believe in working directly with customers. That means not handing our customers a menu of options to choose from, instead really leaning into the planning side of their networks and helping them build custom services around that network in a way that suits them best. We’re dedicated to trusted support and care, and that’s what sets us apart.
What do you think is still to come in the world of fiber and business networking? What trends should we be keeping an eye on and why?
JC: Businesses are going to need to find a way to stay relevant with their customers. Many providers are pushing the commoditization of bandwidth right now, and looking forward I think Horizon will be focusing on climbing the stack of services for customers.
We also have a lot of work we’re doing in Fiber-to-the-Home markets (across 5 additional locales this year) as demand for that capability remains on the rise. Gaining density in these markets will be key, and Horizon continues to build that network in a fashion that empowers immediate access to SMBs in those areas.
Why is this work in telecommunications important to you? What drives you to be part of this connectivity movement?
JC: For me, it’s a great challenge. The industry has changed so much from how it was when I was working at the businesses that I ‘grew up in.’ Even five years ago, if someone had approached me and said the next big thing was going to be FTTH, I would have laughed. In reality, the problem we’ve had for a long time has been convincing people that the quality of their network matters. There was a lack of understanding that has recently totally shifted — now everyone understands the fundamental importance of quality connectivity. The investment community is driving some of this shift as well.
It’s such an interesting time in the industry as we go deeper and deeper into fiber and its capabilities. This makes it even more exciting to look ahead and keep driving progress on the communications front.
To learn more about Horizon and how it’s supporting customers as their demands grow and evolve, click here.
To explore Horizon’s newest service offering, cloud-based communications and collaboration platform Voice Connect, please click here.