RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — If web hosting takes on a new physical face, a North Carolina firm may be a primary reason.

Advanced Internet Technologies, a fast-growing web hosting and servers reseller, played host to customers from around the country over the weekend to discuss the latest industry trends and to hear about AIT’s new plans.

They heard a great deal.

The Fayetteville-based firm that was launched by a group of military veterans plans to announce soon an initiative targeting bigger markets, Alex Lekas of AIT told Local Tech Wire. AIT also recently landed a deal with Time Warner Telecomm to offer support for that firm’s private-label hosting program.

“We’re putting together what CEO Clarence Briggs terms a Dealership Program, whereby we target larger cities in which we have clusters of successful resellers, about four-to-six of them, and create physical storefronts,” Lekas said of the reseller initiative. “These dealers will have the full backing of AIT, they will in essence be extensions of the company in their cities. This approach will allow resellers to pool their talents in leveraging deals they cannot land on their own; it will let them use AIT’s credibility, infrastructure, vendor relationships, and financing power to their benefit.

“It may well be the next step in the evolution of our industry, from the early adopter phase to the current revival to the businesses who are skeptical about the ‘virtual’ and only believe something is viable when it has a physical presence,” Lekas added.

Briggs said AIT the program is part of the firm’s efforts to provide more than basic web services.

“This is the year of innovation because hosting itself is becoming a commodity,” Briggs said in a statement. “Every hosting company provides disk space and bandwidth; we have to provide our customers with value, with tools that will help them and their customers be successful.”

AIT has been offering web hosting reseller packages since 1996. Among its newest clients is Time Warner Telecom.

“We recently worked out a deal with Time Warner Telecom whereby AIT will be the back-end technology support for TWTC’s private label hosting offering,” Lekas said. “By private label, I mean TWTC will package our services as their own, bundling them with the fiber connectivity that Time Warner already provides its customers.”

AIT, which now employs 125 people, hosts the customer conferences on a regular basis. Each covers two days and includes a variety of seminars, demonstrations and instruction.

“Our resellers are working with customers and potential customers who want to see the value of digital services; the conferences give us the opportunity to show our resellers how to do that,” said Kirk deViere, AIT’s chief operating officer, in a statement. “There’s also another dynamic at work; resellers are teaming with peers who have complimentary skills to leverage deals they couldn’t get working alone.”

Advanced Internet Technologies: www.ait.com