The communications service provider industry is undergoing a worldwide supercycle upgrade, where new generation of access technology is going to more than quadruple the bandwidth capacity to and within the home. Simultaneously, networking, computing and data analytics are coming together to open incredible opportunities for consumer-experience focused services over this infrastructure.
But despite all the technological advancements and innovation, not much has changed for the subscriber … yet. Their experience is still largely one of frustration and lack of control, which makes them susceptible to churn.
Why is this still the case and what can service providers do to deliver an enhanced subscriber experience? The answer lies in three longstanding problems that undermine the true potential of network transformation for both subscribers and service providers.
The no. 1 issue with broadband service delivery is lack of user input and choice. In many places, there are a very limited number of internet providers. You select one and you get what they give you. Performance and quality of experience (QoE) may vary depending on the provider, the service and time of day, among other factors. Subscribers are unable to proactively request a service level that supports their use case, even if they’re willing to pay extra. For example, there isn’t currently an effective way to communicate when additional bandwidth for a telehealth session or virtual meeting is needed.
Subscribers know what they want to do (surf the web, play a game or stream an 8K movie), but this doesn’t translate to the network, which has always been a problem with internet services. By intelligently combining networking, computing and analytics, we now have the ability to address this issue. We are seeing the first signs of creating bandwidth on demand in the enterprise space, but it remains on the horizon for residential subscribers.
The second prevalent issue with broadband service delivery is the persistence of technology silos that block segments of the service delivery pipeline from interoperating to drive dynamic improvements in performance, reliability and analytics.
For example, let’s say a residential internet subscriber is paying $85 per month for a fiber-based internet service that promised to deliver 500 Mbps performance. Their in-home router supports even higher capacity – up to 1 Gbps. Everything is connected properly, but a speed test shows they’re only getting 50 Mbps. Why aren’t subscribers getting what they are paying for?
It’s because the subscriber, router and the ISP’s network are unable to exchange information to optimize the user experience.
New technology may bring the potential for modest, incremental improvements, but these enhancements may help marketers more than users. Fundamentally, the subscriber experience hasn’t changed much despite long-term significant investments, and the network operator is often limited in their ability to see and respond. Technologies remain siloed and unable to efficiently work together.
The third issue with broadband service delivery is incompatibility and integration headaches across an operator’s network hardware, software and firmware. The overall network might contain many different functional elements and ecosystems, but these often cannot be integrated end-to-end to provide adequate monitoring of on-premises experiences at the carrier’s back-end systems.
Why? Because these disparate network elements were not designed for universal compatibility, which would make ecosystem-wide visibility cost-effective and practical. Instead, operators can monitor parts of the network, but do not have a truly holistic view. Thus, they can provide only very limited prescriptive diagnosis for subscriber issues. They might support a mobile app to control an in-home router or some other piece of equipment, but their ability to provide comprehensive support and troubleshooting capabilities are severely limited.
Consider a dashboard that gives customer care agents an end-to-end view of network health and the ability to proactively identify and resolve customer issues. It’s about creating a vendor-neutral ecosystem with connectivity across best-of-breed solutions to reduce operational costs, maximize return on assets and enable far superior customer experiences. Today’s vendor lock-in scenarios may soon become a thing of the past, but they are a reality of today.
Open standards compatibility helps bridge gap to different standard-compliance CPEs
At the end of the day, subscribers want an uninterrupted, seamless connectivity experience. If they don’t get this experience, then they may churn. Recapturing churned customers can cost $4000-$8000 per instance in marketing and operational cost. It is imperative that service providers act now to turn customer frustration into advocacy!
DZS is addressing these problems head-on and continuously innovating to help our customers deliver the ultimate subscriber experience. I’ll delve more into additional solutions for service providers in future posts.
To explore vendor-neutral, standards-based, interoperable, best-of-breed, silo-free solutions designed to drive the market-disrupting transformation from service provider to experience provider, contact DZS.