FTTH Requires Culture Change, Carriers Say

LAS VEGAS — Deploying fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) is as much a culture change as a technology change for carriers, according to leading players here at the FTTH Council Conference.

Companies that have tried to sell the new service in traditional ways haven’t always found success.

For example, Telefónica Brazil put its FTTH infrastructure into place before preparing its services, customer service, IT, and back-office operations, said Andre Kriger, the carrier’s FTTH director, in a keynote speech here. And that initial attempt at a massive new service rollout fell flat, he said.

Following that experience, Kriger said that Telefónica Brazil visited Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Portugal Telecom Inovação SA (PT Inovação) , and others to see how they had made FTTH work and came to the conclusion that all systems have to be go before the service itself can be launched.

“Fixed service operators are not used to doing this — we have to learn to think like a startup,” Kriger said. “Wireless operators do this all the time, they have learned how to launch new networks.”

Before Telefónica Brazil relaunched its service, the carrier put in place an IPTV platform, with a multi-room DVR that its cable competitors can’t match, and a much more aggressive customer service and installation plan that includes 30-day intensive training courses for their installation technicians.

By pulling marketing, back office, and technology teams together, Telefónica Brazil relaunched its service and now has almost 4,000 FTTH subscribers, as it continues to ramp up, Kriger said.

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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