If you watch any television at all, you have undoubtedly seen hundreds of advertisements for “Business Class Cable”
These commercials take you into the offices of small business owners that are completely frustrated with the “Phone Company” and the high prices that they relentlessly push upon their customers. Customer after customer holds up their current bill with a look of disgust and then begins to tell us how much faster and more affordable their new service is from the cable company.
So here is my gripe. It is not what you may be thinking. I agree that the cable companies offer a great product mix for the home user or the small business. They can bundle telephone lines with the internet capability and the net result is a very nice voice and data solution. I use it at my home every day and it is a wonderful service. Notice I said my home? The problem with the Cable companies pitching their services to the business is not a feature or benefit problem, it’s an availability problem. In a recent project for one of my customers, we set out to price cable voice and data services for approximately 45 locations. After 60 days of setting up site surveys and pre-qualifying these locations, we found that 4 of them could sign up for the service. The cable companies built out a fabulous residential network but they are still in the very early stages of building out their network to the business locations. The net result for my customer was a bunch of hype about converting to “Business Cable” only to waste over 60 days of everybody’s time and delaying their project into the following quarter. They placed orders for DSL and the project finished up quickly thereafter. There is no doubt that the cable companies will continue to build out their network to accommodate the business customer. The big problem will be with the business that is just off of their network build out and the cost of bring the services will be amortized over the term of their contract. The installation charge added to the monthly fee for the service will eliminate the savings that they promised. Just like in the children’s book, the Emperor (Cable Companies) has no clothes!
So my advice to the cable companies: take some of that advertising money and build a network that my customers can sign up for.
Joe Bjorklund is the Manager of Carrier Services for Packet Fusion. Packet Fusion is a ShoreTel “Dealer of the Year” winner with offices in San Mateo, Irvine, Portland and Seattle. As the author of Telecom’s Best Blog http://www.telecomsbestblog.com he publishes articles pertaining to Total Telecom Management. As businesses move away from the painful process of dealing directly with the carriers, Telecom’s Best Blog is a resource to learn about Total Telecom Management.