Manage Varying Installation Costs and Availability Effectively
When deploying a new broadband network, be it Fiber or Wireless, there are always circumstances that make it more expensive or even impossible to reach some customers. In the case of a Fiber build it might be tough ground conditions, unusually far between houses or simply no space on poles if doing an aerial build. If deploying a wireless network, it might just be the topography of the landscape that makes certain locations unreachable from the tower or the location of your antennas. When it comes to the varying cost, you might decide that it will even out over time and that everyone will have the same (or no) connection and installation fee. But how do you handle those locations that you will not be able to serve, serve only at a significantly higher price for the end customer, or perhaps only with an alternative technology?
Well, if swings and round-abouts doesn’t do it for you and you don’t want to have your customer care staff talking to disappointed customers who had their hopes up only to be informed that their home was unfortunately not within reach – the Service Layer functionality of COS Service Zones might be the solution you are looking for.
But first, if you are new to COS Service Zones, here is a very short description of what this software is; COS Service Zones is a cloud hosted and web based broadband demand aggregation platform. It enables network builders to split their intended network footprint, their Service Area(s), into smaller neighborhood zones, or “fiberhoods”. Each zone will have a take-rate target (a percentage of the housholds) for the neighborhood to reach in order to qualify for the next phase in the race to get connected to the new broadband network. The platform comes with out-of-the-box surveying functionality to gather interest and information about existing providers and services in the initial phases of the project, and signup functionality with optional credit card deposits. It is also used throughout the construction to proactively keep each neighborhood informed about how the build-out will happen on their streets.
Now, let’s give an example of when the Service Layer comes into play. In a neighborhood, there is one street where the lots are very large and the houses have very long driveways. Connecting these houses in an underground fiber scenario, would be three times more expensive than the typical home. At the same installation price for the subscriber as all other homes, it would never pay off to connect them. In this scenario it’s most suitable to use the address based Service Layer. In the Administration Portal of COS Service Zones you create a new Service Layer and define the addresses that should be a part of it. Then you create specific service offerings that should be available in this service layer, in this case the same fiber services, but with a higher initial connection fee. Now, if a person in one of these houses would search for their address, they would find themselves being in their neighborhood Service Zone, but the services would not be what everyone else are presented, but the specific services you defined for the address based service layer.
The geography based Service Layer would more likely be used in the wireless scenario. Let’s say you have determined the location where you would place your wireless tower, if enough customers in the surrounding area would sign up. Based on the tower placement, the topography and the equipment you can use the expertise of different companies to help create coverage maps, meaning the areas where the signal will reach and where it will not reach. These kind of maps can be used to create a Service Layer that is not made up of addresses, but rather a geographical area. The services offered are tied to the Service Layer and thus, when potential customers search for their address in COS Service Zones, only those whos’ addresses’ coordinates are within the boundaries of the Service Layer will be presented with a service offering.
Of course Service Layers can overlap. At one location the customer might belong to two Service layers. Exemplifying this with the two scenarios above, a person in one of those more expensive locations could also be in the coverage area of a wireless tower and could then choose between the Fiber service with the higher installation fee, or the wireless connection also available at his address.
In short, a Service Layer is a group of addresses where a specific service offering is available, defined as a simple list or by geographical boundaries on a map. It’s a great way to be proactive in your sales towards future customer, avoiding a lot of questions and disappointment. By using this functionality you can pinpoint your offerings down to the address level and the customers can inform themselves on what is available at their exact address whenever it suites them, without having to wait in any phone que. You get more effective and your customers will get correct information faster. A true win-win.