Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 2017

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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100 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 TECHNOLOGY Enhancing Customer Care Make purchasing broadband services a frictionless activity. By Pete Koat / Incognito Software Systems O perators are redefining the traditional broadband services catalog as well as the ways customers subscribe to service packages. What used to be a tiered list of bandwidth speeds and data caps is transitioning to flexible, personalized service options that subscribers can choose as separate items at any time. Some call this "à la carte" services. Instead of making a phone call to a customer service agent – typically including a period of waiting on hold while listening to elevator music – a subscriber can now access an intuitive self-service portal, select services and have a technician arrive at the door with the proper device in hand. How can operators take this evolution a step further? Expediting service purchasing and activation requires operators to support true zero-touch provisioning. is requires harnessing solutions to quickly and accurately provision devices with the services a subscriber wants without any need for manual touches from a technician or call center agent. Ideally, a subscriber should be able to purchase any gateway device from any third- party distributor, such as eBay or Amazon, plug in the device, enter a captive portal, subscribe to a services package and then have the services initiated quickly. On paper, this seems simple, but in reality, operators must consider a number of technical challenges before they can bring this scenario to an eager market. Not all gateway devices are created equal, and today their differences have a direct impact on the services a subscriber can receive. With the dawn of network function virtualization (NFV), operators can reduce the restrictions on subscriber services by hosting device configurations in the virtual plane rather than within the actual (often limited) device. is offers a way for operators to enable new services without having to ensure that a subscriber is using the latest piece of gateway hardware. Ensuring device firmware version compatibility or service capabilities is a considerable problem for operators that want to give subscribers more choice over which gateways they purchase and which services they select. If a gateway comes from a third-party distributor, there is absolutely no way for an operator to predict what version of firmware the device will have installed when it's connected to the network. A proactive device firmware solution that enables operators to roll out new services can help tackle this challenge. Operators can preload their provisioning solutions with out-of-the-box device information, including multiple firmware upgrade paths. As soon as a gateway connects to an operator's network, the provisioning solution communicates with the device to establish which firmware version is currently installed and then automatically updates and reboots the device, ensuring compatibility. Realizing true zero-touch provisioning requires operators to create intuitive captive portals for new users entering their networks. ese portals should include a way for users to create an account, select flexible services from an à la carte services catalog and then enter billing details, including a term of service. Once the payment is authorized, the

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