Preparing consumers for when power fails
The reality of the most advanced residential services today — fiber to the home and hybrid fiber/coax – is that they come at the cost of a basic promise of home telephone service, namely the ability to operate when commercial power is lost.
A lot of Gulf Coast residents learned that last year when Hurricane Gustav and then Hurricane Ike blew through, plunging neighborhoods into darkness that lasted days and even weeks, not hours. In Ascension, La., EATEL, the local telephone company, watched Gustav turn in its direction and knew the customers on its FTTH network would face a major challenge.
“When we first started converting customers to fiber, one of our biggest concerns was how they would react to not having service during extended power outages,” Trae Russell, communications manager for EATEL, told the 2009 FTTH Conference & Expo today. “We knew that battery backup would only last a few hours.”
EATEL had worked to inform its customer base of the limits of battery backups and found many of its customers bought home generators in advance of Gustav’s arrival.
“Gustav was an incredible learning experience for us,” Russell said. “We made a very strong effort to communicate to customers about battery backups. It turned into a successful grassroots campaign.”
That campaign included refrigerator magnets with instructions on using battery backups and e-mails that went out in advance of the hurricane season, educating consumers and telling them what they needed to do to prepare, Russell said.
EATEL is prepared to send out reminder e-mails ahead of any oncoming storm during the 2009 hurricane season, which has, thus far at least, been blissfully less eventful than in previous years.
More telecom service providers would be wise to alert consumers as to the limitations of their advanced networks — or even remind them that cordless phones won’t operate without power. It doesn’t take a hurricane to knock out power. Floods like those that hit the Southeast, fires like those devastating California, wind storms and tornadoes like those that roar through the Midwest, and heavy snowfall can also knock out power lines. Consumers need to be prepared.
EATEL has also taken a step to convince consumers that maintaining a wireline phone during emergencies can bring 911-dispatched services more quickly, with ads that feature the parish sheriff reminding people that in an emergency, seconds count and knowing where the call is coming from more quickly can save time.
There is value in low-cost wireline service — something AT&T is exploring — for the kind of emergencies described above. Of course, if that wireline service is provided via FTTH or HFC, then there are more steps to be taken to educate consumers on how to maintain their service.
E-mail me at email@example.com.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
In this Webinar you will learn how to create a real-time relationship with your customers, how to proactively improve the customer experience, and how to successfully target and cross-sell services to boost incremental revenue.
- Megabytes to Megabucks, Bandwidth to Business Models: How 4G Is Changing Everything
- How to Unplug Your Redundant Telco Apps To Save Money and Improve Efficiency
- When IaaS Isn't Enough: Service Provider Business Models to Drive Growth and Build Margin
- How to Transform Your Aging Telco Voice Network to Drive New Profits and Revenue
- Creative Licensing Approaches for Telcos & Their Network Equipment Vendors
- Smart Home Opportunity: Balancing Customer Data & Privacy
This paper discusses the rise of Diameter and benefits of Diameter Protocol.
- Conducting The Orchestration – Order Management at the Speed of Business
- Toward a Converged Network Edge
- Beyond Spam – Email Security in the Age of Blended Threats
- 6 Important Steps to Evaluating a Web Filtering Solution
- The Expertise to Protect You from Botnet and DDoS Attacks
- Seeing is Believing – Bridging the Order Visibility Gap
Service providers are under tremendous pressure to turn up new services faster then before and, at the same time,
to do it at less expense - and intra-office fiber is one of the biggest challenges in terms of both cost and service
From the Blog
Join the Discussion
Get more out of Connected Planet by visiting our related resources below:
Connected Planet highlights the next generation of service providers, as well as how their customers use services in new ways.Subscribe Now