The RBOCs have stopped trying to compete with cable for the consumer market and the small business market. (They just want to sell cell phones, M2M and soon IoT to them). CenturyLink, Windstream, Frontier and Fairpoint still have a huge stake in broadband. Frontier's stake just went up $10B with its purchase of VZ assets.
How do these ILECs compete with cable?
Bundling makes selling easier because you put together a valuable set of services priced attractively.
CLECs, RLECs and other service providers need to start offering an orange to all the apples out there. Stop the march to ME-TOO.
Every carrier I know has more services in their catalog than the average salesperson can recall.
You need to go vertical too.
Bundles need to start looking more complete to business like CenturyLink's Managed Office (with Office 365, Hosted PBX and Internet). One bill, one throat to choke, more ARPU, stickier customer. Tell me how is it that email is still not sold with Hosted VoIP for a real unified messaging box?
SMS to landlines and SMS to VoIP is possible today. Jabber is open source and makes a nice XMPP chat/IM/presence service that can be made secure. Email with Hosted PBX, efax, conferencing, simul ring, soft phone -- packaging.
EarthLink is a good example of a CLEC who went vertical with very specific offerings for the retail space. It resulted in a big splash at the National Retail Association expo in NYC. And they white label AirTight for that.
8x8 made inroads into Allstate insurance offices by integrating with Allstate's software. That kind of integration for Hosted UC or Hosted Contact Center is going to be the difference maker.
MetTel has been known as a Verizon POTS reseller for a long time. It is making a big dent in the Mobile Device Management space, white labeling AirWatch by VMware. If you have MVNO handsets include MDM so you make a buck off them. If you don't have an MVNO, then sell softphones and MDM to leverage the cellphones that people already have.
Sonic.Net's CEO made a good point about the reseller mentality means that CLEC's just follow the ILEC in everything except price. The CLECs have to start ripping that mentality down - and coming at pricing, bundling, offers, etc. differently.
As cold calls die and salespeople freak out about getting leads, inbound marketing could be done around a vertical, a niche, an offering, a new bundle, a new integration.