After the Gold Rush: Preparing for the Future in the Fibre Market

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The current rollout of fibre networks has been compared to a gold rush. Governments and equity firms are pumping billions into new fibre networks in order to ensure fast and fair broadband access for all. New fibre network providers are advertising faster broadband speeds at lower costs than the incumbent operators. Some of these new providers are selling direct to consumers and businesses while some are working with a wide range of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) who provide the fibre service to their end customers.

The demand for data is increasing, the availability of funding is increasing and in many countries, governments have an open policy that encourages competition to give customers a choice. This combination of demand, funding and open competitive policy is creating the fibre gold rush.

Currently, there’s a ‘build it and they will come’ approach to new fibre build. With internet usage growing 25% year-on-year in many markets and a large percentage of households and businesses without access to fibre broadband, this is exactly the right approach.

But what happens after the gold rush? Will cheapest price be the main reason why a customer decides to select one fibre offer over another? Also, it’s a safe bet to say that there will be consolidation. Some providers will build up a customer base only to find themselves taken over by a larger player, and some providers will struggle and find themselves ‘consolidated’. Who will be the winners and losers when the post gold rush market conditions start to appear will be dependent on the decisions that are taken today as new operators, incumbent operators and ISPs select the platforms on which to build and grow their business.

By working with systems that focus on customer experience, business agility and end-to-end automation, fibre providers can have the platform that will enable them to grow their business and also differentiate when the initial fibre growth curve starts to level off. These systems will enable certain key approaches for fibre providers including:

1. Digital-first: for all customers

A digital-first approach for sales, marketing, care and service works best. This should cover app-based and web-based channels. Providing an app to give consumers easy access and control over everything from rescheduling installation visits to upgrading service or referring a friend can be quickly provided. This approach shouldn’t just be restricted to consumers. All too often business customers of telecoms services still need to go through call centres. This costs business customers (especially SMEs) time and money and drives higher customer acquisition costs for the operators. All fibre customers— consumers, businesses, landlords and government customers—should be served by digital-first channels, which are proven to deliver the best customer experience.

2. Enabling new levels of business agility

Fibre providers are already selling more than high-speed broadband. Many are bundling in content services from partners. New operators also are getting creative with marketing and are offering ‘refer a friend’ bonuses. But how long should it take to build and launch a new content-based offer? How long should it take to develop and roll out a refer-a-friend scheme or a new loyalty offer? Using traditional BSS, these changes can take months, which isn’t really giving the degree of agility that fibre providers will need to differentiate themselves and win in an increasingly competitive market. A new approach to BSS uses no-code which enables users in the fibre provider to use a GUI to develop, test and launch new offers and processes. This can be done in hours and gives a new level of business agility to the fibre provider.

3. Fully automated and open

A zero-touch approach to customer and service orders and provisioning can dramatically improve the time for new customers to be up and running. Add to this an app/web function to let the customer schedule installation visits to a time that suits the customer then this can provide a better customer onboarding experience as well as significant cost savings. Also, as fibre providers may have a range of systems that need to be integrated, compliance with industry-standard APIs should be built into these platforms from day 1.

4. Be able to support multiple brands on a single platform

As we’ve seen in the mobile market, cable TV and fixed-line telecoms markets in the past, there will be future consolidation in the fibre market. Therefore, it’s important that any systems that fibre providers buy today need to be able to support multiple brands on a single platform. Also, we may see fibre providers roll out new brands – e.g. a business-focused brand that is separate from their consumer brand. Being able to support multiple brands on a single platform will save time, money and effort.

The fibre gold rush is well underway. High demand, high levels of funding and open competitive policy is seeing new entrants and is increasing the rate of fibre rollout. The system choices that fibre providers make today will determine the level of success they will enjoy after the gold rush.

Tero Nieminen, VP Partnerships, Qvantel
Luis Rodríguez-Ovejero Gómez, Director / Corporate Entrepreneur at alvatross by SATEC


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