In Cable’s Crosshair – Rural Carriers

July 17, 2020|LB Networks


New Verticals New Value Add and Fiber. What you can do to protect your accounts.  

BIG CABLE is coming for rural business customers. The following information highlights results from Fierce Wireless, Light Reading, RDOF, SCTE, Deloitte, Gartner and various other industry sources.

Charter’s CFO said the company’s $5 billion multi-year rural broadband expansion plans will begin 2021 but the bulk of the deployment will occur in 2022. FierceWireless 3/8/21

This article identifies cable’s plans and steps that rural carriers can take to protect current accounts, grow revenues and loyalty and acquire new accounts. Future updates will cover the MSOs 10G plans, 5G backhaul plans as well as the new OTT competitors.

They say it’s easier to fight the enemy you know than the one you don’t. With uber competition confronting every industry, companies must invest to fight rivals. It is tough, challenging….yet strangely reassuring to take on familiar opponents. However, focusing on traditional rivals has often blinded companies to the threat from new disruptive competitors. So what happens when your competitor, Cable Companies, changes to battle not just you but the threat from new OTT adversaries?

New customers – What’s Bright, Shiny & Not GEM?

US cable operators are making progress in their pursuit of lucrative, enterprise-sized services deals, but their bread and butter continues to center on small and midsized companies.[ii]  Cable is seeing a 5% rate of revenue growth, much of it from Tier2/3 growth meaning there is still plenty for cable to pursue. Some CableCos, such as Comcast, have seen an 8.8% commercial business services growth.

Government-Education-Medical (GEM), the original commercial verticals for the cable industry, has served them very well over the years. Now cable’s segmentation and targeting are evolving with growth opportunities in some unexpected areas. Responding to a Broadband Success Partners’ survey MSO executives in Tier 2 markets provided feedback on the new targets.

“These (new) verticals frequently utilize cloud-based services that require high speed connectivity and reliability, including SLAs.” 

The responses shine a bright light on emerging areas where MSOs seem particularly well suited. For example, agribusiness is hot and getting hotter, especially in rural areas where farmers need access to gigabit speeds that enable them to leverage new technologies. “The early returns are extremely positive,” according to one of the executives. One reason the agribusiness IoT use case: crop yields improve with connected tilling equipment that drops one of three different types of seeds based on real-time soil acidity readings.

Keeping with the IoT thread, energy-utilities and manufacturing are focus verticals for cable.  Amenity WiFi and capturing data and using analytics to learn more about their customers behavior is increasing bandwidth demand for all retailers.

Getting More out of Current Customers – The Total Connect Affect

How is Cable Planning on driving increased revenue when bandwidth pricing is falling? “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.” Just like this lyric, cable operators are changing to mine current accounts while embracing the new verticals.  The cablecos are committed to adding more value for the current services to reduce churn, increase usage, attract new accounts stave off new threats. As evidence of this commitment the MSOs have released new customer portals for client interaction such as Comcast’s Service Portal, Cox EPMR Portal and Spectrum’s Total Connect[iii].

Expanding Fiber Investments and Services

As the MSOs are gearing up for a new decade of jousting with telcos and new rivals, they are steadily pumping more fiber into their access networks.[iv]

The SCTE Heavy Reading Survey identifies the key focus areas for cable’s heavy investment is fiber builds.  They believe they can expand their business market share through increasing fiber deployments for 10GigE services and 5G backhaul deployments. In fact 62% of CableCos expect to upgrade their networks within the next 2 years for backhaul (over 60% of respondents were Tier 2/3 market operators).  Regional carriers have several steps they can take now to counter this offensive being launched by the CableCos (as well protecting you from the new OTT disruptors).

What Can Telcos do now?

As the CableCo’s have realized, investing in a customer service portal can increase sales, improve loyalty, and provide valuable customer usage information while reduce operating expenses. Portal integration is a great way to improve your customer  experience and over deliver on customer expectations. With OcularIP™, portal capabilities are truly minutes away –  visibility to client services is built in to the application just turn it on! BTW it is very intuitive for your customers to use and blows away what cable offers.

A recent Forrester report states “over 80% of business customers prefer to access a web portal for their interaction with a business partner”. Marketing, billing and trouble ticket portals provide information, but customers aren’t getting the item they value most – how is my service performing now! That’s where OcularIP comes in.

Using OcularIP you can provide real-time customized end-to-end circuit visibility. And with Performance Connect™ API, you can quickly and easily integrate a service level portal into your web strategy, OSS/BSS, EMS, including systems, platforms and applications.

OcularIP Makes It Easy

OcularIP supports analyzing circuit information from over 440 different technologies and dozens of various systems.  In a matter of minutes you’ll be operational.  Request a logon, download the OcularIP vCollector app (26mb) enter a key and let OcularIP learn your circuits, that’s it.

OcularIP is in use with 137 carriers worldwide, over 110 in North America. OcularIP in its 5th generation has many additional capabilities.  The only thing that outshines OcularIP’s functionality is the support we are committed to provide you. Look around and feel free to contact us for your own trial.

[i] Fierce Telecom Charter CFO March 8, 2021 [ii] 12/30/2019 David Strauss, Principal, Broadband Success Partners [iii] By JEFF BAUMGARTNER, Senior Editor, Light Reading, [iv] Charter Launches Spectrum Total Connect [v] Cable’s Fiber Outlook Survey SCTE Report Heavy Reading