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October 6th, 2020

CSPs Must Transform to Meet Surging Demand for Ubiquitous Broadband

While universal broadband has been a U.S. priority for years, it’s now been escalated to a national imperative. As the pandemic has laid bare, America needs ubiquitous, high-speed access in the same way that we need electricity and water. While it’s clear that it’s a multi-faceted issue, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are on the front line to deliver the connections we need, when and where we need them to ensure we can work, learn, and live in spite of the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. But also to support what’s sure to be a new way of life afterwards.

Around the world, as COVID-19 shut down economies and forced quarantine restrictions, the demand for connectivity rose sharply. According to BCG, global Internet usage rose 70% while the use of virtual communications tools increased 10 times and online streaming increased by 50%. 

In the U.S., where household demand rose 50% as Americans stayed home, current connectivity levels enabled online retailing to grow by 15% to 30%, food deliveries to rise by 90%, and online grocery shopping to skyrocket by 140% during the crisis. 

Telcos stepped up as the world shut down, ensuring connectivity when we needed it most. Thanks to trillions in infrastructure and technology investments over the last two decades, CSPs were able to deliver high-speed connections for many citizens and businesses. Yet many consumers and business were unable to participate.

The numbers are sobering. Broadband access is a big problem in the U.S., whether it’s 21 million people who lack it, as the FCC reports, or a staggering 157 million, according to a recent Microsoft study, who lack access or struggle with slow speeds and network instability. Access and affordability issues are further exacerbated in urban digital deserts and especially in rural communities where tele-anything—work, school, healthcare—is difficult at best. 

A recent Wall Street Journal video reported on the scale of the issues, and the impact on citizens and organizations trying to stay connected for work, school, healthcare and more. The bottom line: we need broadband access to survive and thrive.

So how do we do extend connectivity to the far reaches of the country when building new fiber through difficult terrain is often cost prohibitive? To connect all areas of the country, CSPs need to partner with other service providers to meet the voracious demand for bandwidth.  Yet, antiquated ordering practices and systems threaten progress in an era where providers must be able to process and track tens of thousands of Ethernet and Broadband orders each month. 

The challenge of streamlining the order cycle across providers.
Breakthrough technologies offer exciting potential to increase network capability to connect across the country and beyond. But, buying broadband access and transport services is still an arduous, complex, slow process. Today, on average, it takes over seven weeks to complete order cycles; 15% or more orders are canceled due to missing or inaccurate info; and 40% of a manager’s workday is spent addressing customers inquiries.

As carriers build out their networks to accommodate 5G and SD-WAN capabilities, it’s critical to strengthen their end-to-end operation systems to provision, order, manage, and deliver their core services (Broadband, fiber, Ethernet, etc.) efficiently. 

Outdated ordering systems don’t compute in a digital world.
Effective order management is critical. Enterprises and carriers have grown to expect a consumer-like experience with instant access to inventory, order status, and a personalized experience. Over the years, CSPs have invested millions of dollars into transformation projects and investors expect to see an ROI. 

Every ordering delay means lost revenue and a hit on customer satisfaction. That kind of operational inefficiency just won’t cut it in an always-on world. The winners will enable innovation through automation, investing in software to manage end-to-end services and replace outdated, often manual processes with streamlined solutions that:

•    Improve operational efficiency and productivity
•    Decrease operational expenses, and generate cost savings
•    Deliver a better customer experience 

Meet the moment and turn the corner. 
This year has delivered unexpected obstacles at every turn. As businesses pivot and re-set for today’s realities and tomorrow’s, it’s time to turn the page on outdated, legacy systems that don’t meet the demands for fast, reliable digital connections. 

By simplifying the order management process, operators can expect to:

  • Eliminate manual processes to save time, improve accuracy
  • Provide visibility into order status and quickly identify remedies where order is stuck
  • Generate a short-term positive ROI
  • Gain competitive advantage to grow and scale business

Neustar has helped countless carriers, service providers, and enterprises modernize and optimize operations for competitive advantage. We created Universal Order Management Connect (UOC) to automatically connect buyers to hundreds of sellers, identify the best offers, then submit and track each order through to completion‒reducing timelines an average of 20 percent. Our cloud-based platform is built to simplify order management, improve accuracy and customer satisfaction, and streamline order fulfillment to maximize order-to-cash results. Contact us to learn more.
 

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