SANTA ROSA -- Telephone and Internet service provider is rapidly expanding its business connections, including a major sales push in Southern California and a planned fiber-to-the-business network in Santa Rosa.

In the past three years, Sonic (707-522-1000, doubled its workforce, now numbering 175, and revenue, according to Dane Jasper, founder and chief executive officer. Revenue totaled $21 million in 2009, when privately owned Sonic last quoted such figures. The company currently is looking for about a dozen more employees in various sales, customer-service and technical roles.

"We're enjoying very strong demand for our products," he said. "Our consumer and business products have been well-received in the marketplace."

Business customers now make up one-third of revenue, according to Mr. Jasper. A key selling point is lower cost for data and voice services, particularly over Sonic's new Ethernet-based network, which can cost less to deploy.

[caption id="attachment_71665" align="alignleft" width="420"] sales engineer Jacob Hardgrove and senior account executive leadership adviser Shannon McConnell (second and third from left) visited the company's new Los Angeles office in January to train the first five account executives (from left) Poch Verzosa, James Donofrio, Kelley Duong, Greg Ellis and Conrad Partida. The company has since hired five more. (image credit:[/caption]

In the past three months, Sonic has hired 10 people for a Los Angeles sales office. They are focusing on sales of enterprise-class connectivity services to businesses with 10 to 1,000-plus employees, which is a major focus for the sales team for Sonic's Northern California markets in the Sacramento and greater San Francisco Bay areas, according to Mr. Jasper.

Currently, Sonic is sending one of its 25 service and installation technicians to Los Angeles for two weeks at a time to hook up new customers. As that market builds, the company likely will create an installation team there, Mr. Jasper said.

Sonic has been gaining a high-profile for its work in bringing ultrahigh-speed Internet connections directly to homes, including a project with Google for fiber-to-the-premise connections around Stanford University. Sonic has offered to hook up homes and businesses with fiber-optic connections but has done so through other communications carriers, so its prices aren't as competitive.

Now, Sonic is starting to offer fiber connections to its Ethernet data network, which passes 4 million homes and businesses in the Bay Area, Sacramento region and half of Los Angeles.

Last year, Sonic began making fiber-optic connections to its existing data network passing 700 homes in Sebastopol. This year, the company is asking the city of Santa Rosa for permits to run a three-mile-long fiber-to-the-business underground network throughout the business parks on Corporate Center and Northpoint parkways and eventually ending up at Sonic's carrier connection in the former Pacific Bell building in downtown Santa.

The route the network takes to get there hasn't been finalized, Mr. Jasper said. The project would take about three months to complete.