Every year typically has a few defining moments, but it’s safe to say that 2020 has had more than its fair share. Although many of us are looking towards a fresh start in 2021, it's important that we take a moment to reflect back on the latest developments from the cable industry to get a pulse on where things are at and better understand where things are headed.
For some time now, the cable industry's ideology has been "the future is fiber", as operators continue to install more fiber in their constantly evolving hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) networks. Yet, even as many continue to spend billions of dollars upgrading their network with fiber technology to boost performance and increase capacity, they still face critical questions about how to leverage those investments to the fullest. How are service providers harnessing this new-found capacity to not only improve broadband service quality, but deliver new service offerings to customers and unlock new revenue streams?
Seeking to shed light on how service providers are planning to monetize their increasingly heavy investments in fiber, and/or use existing DOCSIS footprint while migrating to fiber, Incognito Software Systems partnered with Light Reading and Heavy Reading to survey 127 telecom executives from across the world regarding their business applications and uses of fiber network data. The survey yielded some interesting findings about the strategies, technological initiatives, and key challenges operators face when it comes to extracting value from their fiber network.
Here are the top four takeaways from the Fiber Monetization section of the 2020 survey report and what it means to your business.
Insights From Fiber Network
With the construction of new fiber networks, operators are looking to learn more about their subscribers and their networks. Which fiber network insights are of the greatest interest to operators? The most popular choices were PNM (of which service diagnostics belongs to) and capacity planning – which are key to assuring broadband service quality
- 71% of respondents stated they needed insights from their fiber network to power service diagnostics and proactive network maintenance, followed by capacity planning as a close second.
Use of Subscriber Data Beyond Billing
Operators are utilizing subscriber data from the network to manage congestion, which once again ties back to delivering unparalleled quality of experience to subscribers. Being able to capture subscriber insights to offer tiered services follows at an extremely close 2nd.
- 38% of operators stated the main application of harnessing subscriber usage data is congestion management to drive quality of experience across the fiber network
Challenges in Monetizing Fiber Networks
As operators look to deploy more fiber, supporting multiple network vendors and multi-access technologies, avoiding siloed systems for fiber vs. cable, simplifying B/OSS integration, and increasing automation are all key challenges they face.
- 46% expressed their top challenges in fiber network monetization from a multi-vendor and access network technology environment, while 37% cited B/OSS integration complexity, siloed system concerns and limitations in automation as additional pains
What's Needed as Data Caps are Lifted for Fixed Broadband
At a time when working and learning remotely have become a necessity for many, operators require a deeper understanding of subscriber traffic patterns to improve QoE and deliver increased value to customers by quickly tailoring service offerings to meet their needs.
- 50% of respondents declared subscriber data as critical insights to determining customer value for money and quality of experience, where 21% noted the customer traffic patterns as vital inputs to creating new products