This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Muthukumaravel S., Senior Director at Prodapt Solutions
Digital Service Providers (DSPs) today are challenged with broadband service qualification as it is cumbersome and time-consuming. The ineffective service qualification process causes 30-40% of the new customers to experience unserviceability, and 20-30% of the existing subscribers face poor customer experience due to reduced service offerings. These further impacts the daily operations of DSPs in the form of reduced customer acquisition, customer churn, and loss of opportunities.
The poor quality of survey data affects customer qualification and experience which in turn creates a negative impact on DSPs’ service offerings. Irrespective of various technologies like copper, fiber, cable, and IPTV, the common issue could be a weak linkage between the network inventory and physical address inventory. Based on our engagements with different DSPs, the major factors contributing to ineffective service qualification are listed below.
- Non-standardized address and service repository
- Lack of support for multi-technologies (e.g. copper, fiber, IPTV, cable, fixed wireless)
- Lack of agility to accommodate the real-time needs of the customer
- Having a lot of cross-boundary issues – less potential growth across competitors’ geographic area
- Inaccurate measurement of loop length, resulting in reduced service offering
Thus, DSPs need to focus on improving service qualifications to provide better services for retaining and enlarging the customer base. This article further elaborates on the strategies that can be adopted by the DSPs to improve the coverage of broadband service qualification. The three-step process that enables the DSPs in achieving improved serviceability is detailed below.
- Standardization of the serviceable address
In the process of standardization, it is suggested to replace the static survey data with the geo-based outside plant inventory. Initially, integrate data from various source systems like billing/CRM systems, outside plant inventory (OSP), and logical inventory. Once integrated, extract the data which is available in different forms like serviceable address, shapefiles, and network location. The data that is integrated and extracted from various sources will be in a non-standardized format, and it needs to be normalized before adding further intelligence.
Recommendations for adding intelligence
- Different address formats from multiple sources can be validated and mapped into one standard universal format using API integration
- Identify the network sources for specific customer location and pin the specified geographic and geometric location with eligible resources
- Create linkage between the network location and serviceable customer address
- Map the census block to the address
“Adding data intelligence and linking the serviceable customer address with the network location improves the serviceability by 33%.”
Local loop evaluation: Once the intelligence is added, it is suggested to evaluate the accurate local loop. Traditionally, calculating the local loop using the static outside plant inventory data provides inaccurate results, causing limited-service offerings. The key steps to compute the accurate local loop between the customer location and network terminal are listed below.
- Identify the nearest network terminal and select the shortest path to provide the service to the customer.
- Find the available capacity (cable pair, MDF, and XConn) from the terminal and compute the local loop between customer location and network terminal.
After evaluating the loop length, the customer location gets qualified for providing the service. The standardized address value gets stored as a catalog and it can be referred to in the service qualification.
- Build a qualified service repository
On obtaining the standardized address catalog, the next step would be to qualify the service. When logical qualification is carried out commonly, it is good to consider the network qualification as well to improve the service qualification. Initially, compute the maximum speed per technology for both logical & network qualification with the help of an orchestrator. Secondly, collate the computed speeds to compare, prioritize, and finalize the improved service qualification. On completion of final computation, the improved service qualification per technology can be stored in a data warehouse that enables faster data retrieval.
Fig 1. Building a qualified service repository
- Optimization of service qualification
Now that the service is qualified and stored in a repository, the final step of the process is to optimize the qualification. It is suggested to correct the data integrity issues like the wrong wire center and incorrect loop length from logical inventories. This can be achieved with the help of an optimizer tool. Usage of an optimizer tool also helps the engineering teams to resolve the configuration issues and assists the sales teams to improve the speed offering based on the market need.
By implementing the three-step process explained in this article, a leading DSP in North America experienced the following benefits.
- Improved customer experience and customer retention due to higher bandwidth
- Enhanced qualification using override mechanism
- Ability to sell full-service offerings
- Increase in qualification coverage and overall serviceability by up to 41%
Muthukumaravel S., Senior Director, Prodapt Solutions
Muthukumaravel is a hands-on technology leader with 15+ years of consulting experience. He has a commanding knowledge of network engineering including provisioning, operations, management of system architectures, and implementation. He is passionate about implementing solutions that rejuvenate Telcos/DSPs (digital service providers) through Platform and Network modernizations, and cloud automation.
Muthu is the Senior Director at Prodapt, a two-decade-old consulting & managed services provider, singularly focused on the telecom/DSP ecosystem that helps clients transform their IT, products, operations, and networks to meet their strategic objectives.
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