In 1966, Charles K. Kao and George A. Hockham published a groundbreaking paper that discussed the practicality of using glass fibers for optical communication. They demonstrated that the attenuation (signal loss) in glass fibers could be significantly reduced, making long-distance transmission feasible. More than half a century later, fiber optics has been the backbone of global telecommunications enabling high-speed internet, long-distance communication, and a luxurious idea for upstart businesses involving network television, data centers, and industrial systems.
A Deloitte Consulting analysis estimates that the United States requires an investment of $130–$150 billion in fiber infrastructure over the next five to seven years to adequately support broadband competition, rural coverage, and wireless densification. This massive investment will likely need to come from a variety of sources, including communications service providers, financial investors, and public/private partnerships.
Fiber-to-the-home deployments started 12 years ago but only 38% of homes have two providers to choose from offering speeds of at least 25 Mbps. In rural areas, only 61% of people can access 25 Mbps wireline broadband, and they may have to pay up to three times more than suburban customers.
While we have seen the emergence of several upstart companies that are making significant contributions and innovations in the field, it is important to note that the industry itself is highly dynamic, and new players and innovations continue to emerge. Ciena, Acacia Communications, Infinera, and, more recently, Lumentum are a few notable upstart companies in the fiber optics industry.
Zinier partners with a range of emerging Fiber businesses, working together to automate their field operations for improved efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Based on our wealth of experience, we have uncovered three (3) essential strategies for achieving success in establishing a thriving Fiber Telecom Enterprise and we have compiled seven (7) valuable takeaways to enhance your knowledge on all aspects of Fiber.
Strategy #1: Learning from the Past
Tailoring services to meet these requirements is crucial for customer satisfaction and business growth. Take the case of Global Crossing in 2002, a telecommunications company that aimed to build a global fiber optic network connecting major cities worldwide. It invested heavily in laying undersea and terrestrial fiber optic cables, with plans to provide high-speed data, voice, and video services. However, overbuilding and excessive debt, accounting scandals and financial mismanagement, and the lack of diversification led to the bankruptcy of Global Crossing.
Forming partnerships between carriers and over-the-top (OTT) players to fund deep fiber deployment can be a viable strategy to accelerate network expansion and capitalize on the growing demand for high-speed connectivity. Such partnerships can take different forms, including asset ownership, infrastructure sharing, or collaborative investments. Carriers can leverage the financial resources and customer base of OTT players to fund fiber deployment and gain access to new revenue streams. This can provide the OTT player with dedicated network capacity and control over the infrastructure, ensuring reliable connectivity for their services while sharing the risks and costs involved in realizing the technologies to back up the business.
Another option is infrastructure sharing, where carriers and OTT players collaborate to share existing fiber assets. This can involve leasing fiber capacity or jointly investing in the construction of new fiber routes. Infrastructure sharing reduces the financial burden on both parties and accelerates network expansion. Carriers and OTT players can establish revenue-sharing models to distribute the costs and benefits of fiber deployment. This can be based on factors such as usage, capacity, or specific service agreements.
The partnership is scalable and adaptable to future growth and allows fiber deployment with evolving technologies and increasing bandwidth requirements. The partnership also allows for flexibility in accommodating new services, emerging markets, and changing user demands.
#1 - Fiber investment requires new monetization schemes
There are three potential models for increasing fiber infrastructure in the United States:
- Creating synergies between deep fiber and other services in an "unlimited" world, where carriers offer integration, network security, and traffic management services within a mix of devices and ecosystems to increase revenue.
- Treating deep fiber as a financial investment, with shared infrastructure models likely to emerge for last-mile fiber access. Fiber can also be leased as real estate to maximize asset utilization.
- Forming partnerships between carriers and over-the-top players to fund deep fiber deployment, either by owning assets or partnering with carriers.
The success of any fiber telecom business depends on the quality of its infrastructure. This means investing in high-quality fiber optic cables, advanced networking equipment, and other essential hardware and software. You'll also need to ensure that your infrastructure is properly installed and maintained to ensure optimal performance and reliability.
#2 - Understand the regulatory environment
The telecom industry is subject to a complex regulatory environment, with different rules and regulations at the national, regional, and local levels. Understanding the regulatory landscape is essential to navigating the industry and avoiding costly legal and regulatory pitfalls.
Strategy #2: Focusing on the Present
Understanding customer requirements is vital for success in the telecom industry. Customers have diverse needs, such as reliable connectivity, high-speed internet, voice quality, and value-added services. Different market segments have unique demands, including residential customers, small businesses, enterprises, and government organizations. Offering flexible plans seems to be the way to go, which includes providing fast and reliable service, transparent billing, and easy-to-understand contracts–but it isn’t the only way to go about it.
One way to enter the market is by offering common strategies such as no contracts, no data caps, and fixed pricing with local support. But if you want to stand out, there is an increasing need for gigabit internet services that provide ultra-fast broadband speeds enabling seamless streaming, online gaming, cloud computing, and other bandwidth-intensive applications. This infrastructure also lays the ground for Smart Homes and Smart Building Solutions that features home automation, energy management, security systems, and remote monitoring, providing convenience, efficiency, and enhanced living or working environments for customers.
Starting your enterprise is one thing, growing it successfully is a whole other challenge. That is why expanding your portfolio will need to include Managed Services, which is providing end-to-end solutions for businesses and customers alike. This includes services such as network monitoring, security, cloud hosting, data backup, and disaster recovery. Managed services help organizations focus on their core operations while leveraging the expertise and infrastructure of the fiber telecom provider.
High-end improvements will boost your brand to the top of the list but keeping it there means having exceptional customer support. Customer support is directly responsible for customer satisfaction, addressing technical issues, and providing timely assistance. 24/7 Technical Support, Helpdesks, Self-Service Options, On-site Support, and Customer Portals are just some of the basic support services fiber optic companies provide to their customers. Focusing on this key aspect builds strong market and customer relationships and differentiates your enterprise in the competitive market.
#3 - Focus on customer service and needs
Customer service is critical in the highly competitive fiber telecom industry. You'll need to provide exceptional customer support and be responsive to customer inquiries and concerns. This includes providing fast and reliable service, transparent billing, and easy-to-understand contracts.
That's why choosing the right software is crucial to crafting customer-centric workflows and driving service excellence. Our Zinier Essential and Zinier Accelerator solutions empower your customers to seamlessly access, confirm, reschedule, or cancel bookings using our API, while keeping them informed with timely email and SMS notifications at every touchpoint. With accurate and up-to-date appointment information, we ensure a smooth and delightful booking experience for your customers.
To gain a competitive edge in the market, consider offering strategies such as no contracts, no data caps, and fixed pricing with local support. Or, differentiate your business by reducing appointment install windows, offering additional managed services, and providing multiple channels for customer communication.
#4 - Offer competitive pricing
Pricing is a crucial factor in attracting and retaining customers. While you don't want to undercut your competitors and sacrifice profitability, you also don't want to price yourself out of the market. Conduct thorough market research and price your services competitively based on the value you offer.
Strategy #3: Leading the Future
Navigating the telecom industry from fiber optics to customers is a complex and ever-evolving task. And the future of fiber optic businesses is promising and poised for significant growth. From increasing demands for bandwidth in 5G and Mobile Connectivity to Smart Cities and IoTs (Internet of Thought), the shift towards cloud computing and the increasing reliance on data centers—all of these will drive the need for robust and high-capacity fiber optic connections that are hopefully green and sustainable solutions as well.
#5 - Expand Your Network
To grow your business and increase profitability, you'll need to expand your network and reach new customers. This may involve building new infrastructure or partnering with other fiber telecom providers to leverage their existing networks. You may also consider offering value-added services, such as cloud computing, security, or IoT services, to differentiate yourself from competitors.
#6 - Stay up-to-date with Industry Trends and Emerging Technologies
The fiber telecom industry is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the curve is essential to remaining competitive. Stay up-to-date with emerging technologies, industry trends, and regulatory changes that may impact your business. Attend industry conferences and events, participate in online forums, and network with other professionals to stay informed and ahead of the competition.
#7 - Embrace Innovation and Collaboration
To grow your business and increase profitability, you'll need to expand your network and reach new customers. This may involve building new infrastructure or partnering with other fiber telecom providers to leverage their existing networks.
Additionally, you may also consider offering value-added services such as cloud computing, security, or IoT services to differentiate yourself from competitors.
As the fiber optics industry continues to rapidly evolve, companies must invest in high-quality infrastructure, stay up-to-date with emerging technologies, and focus on delivering superior customer experiences to stay ahead of the competition.
By embracing key strategies such as collaboration, regulatory compliance, and a customer-centric approach, fiber telecom companies can position themselves at the forefront of the industry, driving growth, profitability, and a sustainable future.
At Zinier, we're dedicated to empowering frontline workers with cutting-edge technology to streamline the entire telecom process and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Our Essentials and Accelerator solutions are tailored to enhance cash velocity, optimize technician utilization, reduce appointment overbooking, and more.
If you're ready to transform your telecom operations and achieve new heights of success, don't hesitate to get in touch with us today. Let's embark on a journey of growth, innovation, and unrivaled success together.