Feedback from Michael Curri’s speech at the Norwegian fiber conference “Fiber 2020”

Why good troubleshooting technology is important for successful broadband investments

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fiber2020I participated at the Norwegian fiber conference “Fiber 2020”, arranged by the Norwegian “Fibersellskapet” in January 2013. There was a long list of interesting speakers lined up, for example Karin Ahl, president at the FTTH council, and Frode Støldal, the CTO of Telenor. There was however one speech in particular that caught my interest more than the others, the speech from Michael Curry, President at the Strategic Networks Group.

Michael and his crew have over years developed a formula, based on large research efforts, to calculate the benefits and ROI of broadband investments. The benefits are, according to Michael, large enough to motivate the initial high investments needed. The conclusion was backed by statistics showing for example that broadband was responsible for as much as 22.4% of all new created jobs!

To be able to achieve all the benefits, the users however need to understand what broadband can do for them. “People don’t buy features, they buy benefits”, Michael said early in the presentation, and continued to describe, that an increased utilization of the broadband connections of 10% also increased the operator revenues with 24%, meaning that the more use of broadband that the customers have, the more revenue will also be generated for the operator.

Since I am fond of mathematics, I was glad to also see some simple mathematical relationships:

Profit = Revenue from customer subscriptions – Investment and Maintenance Costs.

A great testing and troubleshooting tool contributes to the profit in more than one way. It is a vital ingredient in providing a good user experience, which is a must to maintain the revenue from customer subscriptions by avoiding churn. At the same time, it lowers the maintenance costs since the time spent on testing and troubleshooting can be decreased a lot. A very solid value proposition indeed!

Michael also spoke about the criteria for successful broadband investments, which include a good and modern network, good support and troubleshooting, as well as awareness and skills by customers to effectively use the network. All these factors are essential to a good overall experience for customers and to realize the promised socio-economic benefits from modern broadband networks.

Considering my background, it is natural that I appreciate when someone mentions the importance of good troubleshooting. One could argue just how important it is, but no matter what, the fact still remains that even with a good and modern network, sometimes things go wrong, may it be because of equipment breakdown, or because of human configuration errors. When things do go wrong, the network engineers must have good troubleshooting technology to quickly find and fix those problems to provide an overall good experience for the customers. It is essential for broadband investments to become succesful.

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