Customer Story

The Associated Press

Empowering the definitive source for independent journalism to fulfill their mission.

Solutions Provided

About

175

Years Reporting

250

Networked Locations

key results

200 to 1

Network Vendors

At a Glance

The AP went from negotiating with 200+ global service providers to one trusted vendor (M3COM), directly contributing to their continued growth.

The M3COM team understands our organization. They know who we are and how we operate–and that makes all the difference. Their collaborative approach, technical expertise, and unstoppable response to adversity empower us to fulfill our mission and focus on our future.

Gianluca D’anielloChief Technology Officer for The Associated Press

For 175 years, the people of The Associated Press have delivered news and information to the world. They have worked hard to establish industry standards for ethics in journalism, and they have gone to great lengths to ensure that the news is reported accurately, honestly, and quickly.

Over time, the AP built a global telecom network that staff and journalists use around the clock to exchange information, stories, photos, and videos among 250 news bureaus around the world. This investment is critical to achieving their mission.

As a not-for-profit cooperative, the AP works under heavy fiscal responsibility. In 2016, the AP named Gianluca D'Aniello as Chief Technology Officer and charged him with a goal of maximizing the organization's IT output while minimizing it’s spend. Mr. D'Aniello had proven his ability to use technology to transform international organizations, with twenty years of IT leadership at companies such as News Corp, Sky Italia, and Deloitte Consulting, and he embraced the challenge.

Mr. D'Aniello recognized that the AP was struggling with an unreliable and expensive network. The design of the network no longer supported the needs of the AP with the same level of efficiency and performance as it once had, and the management of the network was demanding too much time from AP employees. It required the AP to employ technical staff in every region around the globe to manage local circuits. Additionally, AP’s procurement team was negotiating directly with over 200 local service providers around the world using multiple languages, resulting in over 200 invoices with fluctuating currencies.

In the past, this model saved the AP expense because they employed IT staff in all regions, but with reduced technical staffing over time it had become cumbersome and costly. Circuit performance had become unreliable–especially in remote regions and hot spots. Provider support requests required considerable time, expertise, and oversight from AP staff.

As a result, the AP network had become a burden to their people instead of a foundation for achieving their mission.

Leaders of the AP’s technology and procurement departments began an evaluation of service providers and proposed network solutions. Given the important work that The Associated Press performs, they select vendors carefully, seeking long-term relationships with world-class talent. But with this initiative, Mr. D'Aniello raised the bar even higher. He wanted a solution that would undoubtedly empower the AP to remain the world's most trusted source of news for decades to come.

His team recommended a meeting with M3COM, a technology solution provider and licensed telecom carrier that creates and manages custom network and cloud solutions. A few months prior, M3COM had secured their first engagement as an AP vendor. In an effort to demonstrate their capability, they had promised to improve the performance of one of the AP's most problematic telecom circuits, a circuit in the Middle East—and the company had successfully delivered.

The RFP team invited M3COM to submit a proposal. Immediately, key members of the M3COM leadership team initiated a series of discussions with the AP to understand how The Associated Press worked as an organization, define the different needs of each of their news bureaus and offices, and then use that information as criteria to evaluate the circuits and topology of their current network. They traveled to multiple cities and offices to meet with stakeholders in-person. After one of these conversations, David Hoad, Senior Director of Technology, told M3COM they were "the first people to ever take the time to get to know us and truly understand what we do. They put the customer first."

M3COM then presented a solution that provided The Associated Press an upgraded network and new operating model that would empower the IT team to deliver the performance their people needed, save cost, and apply swift network modifications as the organization continued to evolve. Hiring one vendor to upgrade and manage the AP's entire network would require a great deal of trust from Mr. D'Aniello and his team, but they saw a new way of doing business that offered unmatched value.

M3COM’s solution featured a consolidated, streamlined network design that would deliver consistent performance using a carefully crafted balance of diverse circuit paths, technology, and bandwidth speeds, tailored to meet the unique needs of each AP office. It eliminated unnecessary cost and reduced risk to service interruptions. To ensure the new network fit their needs, M3COM provided detailed documentation that featured circuit diagrams, routes, bandwidth speeds, and undersea routing.

Updating the network would require a great deal of work, but M3COM committed to providing top tier support and strategic technical consultation throughout and beyond implementation. The AP awarded M3COM the role, and the upgrade began.

Today, The Associated Press has a seamless, modern network that reaches nearly 250 locations around the globe and is managed by a trusted team of people committed to their success. As a result, the AP has re-allocated resources and focus to other areas of the organization that are transforming and directly contributing to the growth and evolution of The Associated Press.

After that demonstration of technical expertise and extraordinary service, we knew we could trust M3COM to keep our network performing reliably.

Kurt RossiVP of Global Technology Operations for The Associated Press

Impossible is Nothing

In the summer of 2016, half of the world’s population would follow the Olympic Games, many relying on The Associated Press for timely news and information. In anticipation of an exponentially increased volume of data being transmitted out of Rio de Janeiro, the AP contracted a Tier 1 provider to add a high-performing circuit to their network.

A few weeks before the games began, the provider informed AP that they would not meet their delivery date. Circuits of this type require 45-60 days to provision and install but implementing a circuit that terminates in South America usually requires an additional month. They were out of time.

Fortunately, The Associated Press now had a new solution for managing their network, and they called M3COM for support. Immediately, the people at M3COM seized the challenge and helped the AP make the upgrade. Leveraging long-standing carrier relationships around the world, their people worked creatively and quickly to provision a circuit in just ten days.

As a result, the AP’s IT team met their deadline with four days to spare, as well as noteworthy cost savings. From the opening ceremony to the closing event, The Associated Press successfully delivered thousands of photos, hundreds of text stories, and hours of video from one of the most-consumed Olympic Games in history.

The support M3COM provided when we were covering the Rio Olympics is only one example of their determination and ability to find a solution to any problem.

Mike TolanSenior Procurement Manager for The Associated Press

Ready for Anything

Since 1848, The Associated Press has been tabulating votes and declaring winners for U.S. and state elections. They provide election information about the process itself, political issues that may affect the outcome of races they call, and vote counts to thousands of newspapers and broadcasters and the public.

The performance and security of AP's network is critical to this process. In the fall of 2020, as the U.S. presidential election neared, the AP and M3COM prepared for a surge in demand on the network—as well as the unexpected. M3COM secured agreement from all domestic carriers with AP circuits to place a moratorium on scheduled maintenance, and during the final days leading up to election night through declaring the winners, M3COM staff were on high-alert with an escalation process that immediately brought any and all network issues to the executive leadership team.

Once again, The Associated Press successfully delivered the results of the U.S. elections to the world, compiling results from a huge voter turnout and declaring winners in some 7,000 races.

The M3COM team is extraordinarily customer-focused. They understand us, they anticipate our needs, and they go the extra mile to help wherever they can.

Kurt RossiVP of Global Technology Operations for The Associated Press

A Personal Relationship

The AP collaborates frequently with M3COM to roadmap the future of their network to adapt to the evolving needs of their organization and the people they serve. However, sometimes the unexpected arises, and whether the need is big or small, M3COM provides advice and support promptly.

When COVID-19 arose, The Associated Press had to pivot quickly. Employees needed to work from home, and many of them were completing heavy format tasks, such as video and audio editing. This increased the need for bandwidth to some offices, and M3COM immediately took action, upgrading AP's connectivity within weeks. Additionally, M3COM offered a billing solution that provided the flexibility they knew the AP needed to manage their complex financial system.

With these updates to their network, The Associated Press covered critical stories of 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic itself, without interruption.

When we call the team at M3COM, they're not looking up an account. They know us. They know our business. They have a personable approach that makes us feel comfortable contacting them for anything at all.

Mike TolanSenior Procurement Manager for The Associated Press

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