Broadband and other communications solutions for rural residents, businesses, and schools are essential for the ongoing expansion and overall wellness of local economies, in communities large and small. Closing the digital divide and advancing a better broadband future promises new opportunities in commerce, connections, and learning. For most rural areas that means depending on locally owned, independent telecommunications companies like Green Hills Communications in Breckenridge, Missouri. For more than 70 years, Green Hills has provided the internet infrastructure, services and support that empower connections and commerce across its service area that now comprises nine counties across central Missouri.
David Adams is the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Green Hills. He is responsible for strategy, operations, and growth, and says the outsourced network services and support relationship with ISPN, now in its 20th year, is one of the most productive and important elements of the company’s daily operations and ongoing growth strategy. “ISPN has been a great ﬁ t for us through the years,” Adams said. “They’ve got the talent, network expertise, and genuine politeness and courteousness that keep our customers connected and pleased. They allow us to focus on what we do best like sales, marketing, installations and operations.”
Although he joined Green Hills just six years ago, Adams has been building rural ﬁber networks and cable TV systems for 20 years, with most of his experience on the operations and ﬁ nance side. He’s been responsible for both building and buying network systems and support services and says the “build vs. buy” decision is regularly reviewed at Green Hills, but the case for buying is simply too strong to do otherwise.
“With 1,100 square miles to cover, and 34 communities with thousands of customers to serve, we’d have to staff up with another 15-20 people to cover all shifts, manage the support calls, and set up new customers on top of that,” Adams said. “ISPN has the support systems in place, a well-trained team of professionals, and the reporting we need to track customer satisfaction as well as network performance.” Network typology and complexity is another consideration that Adams says makes the decision to continue with ISPN an easy one. “Our network operations include a mix of twisted pair copper, ﬁ ber, coaxial, and ﬁxed wireless,” Adams said. “We’re a bit unique having all four of those technologies in one organization and ISPN manages them all very well.” Finally, Adams says a tight nationwide labor market is an even bigger challenge in rural communities. He likes that ISPN can ﬂex up and down as needed, without the time and hassle of advertising, interviewing, and managing extra staff. “ISPN has a larger talent pool to draw from in big cities and already has the resources in place for hiring, training, and career advancement,” Adams said. “We love it here because we live here, but the fact is smaller towns and communities can be a tough sell to the best candidates.”
“ISPN has been a great ﬁt for us through the years. They’ve got the talent, network expertise, and genuine politeness and courteousness that keep our customers connected and pleased. They allow us to focus on what we do best like sales, marketing, installations and operations.”
Since Adams’ arrival, the number of customers has grown to approximately 7,500 and revenues have doubled due to a recent acquisition of another regional provider, and a greater focus on selling to new and existing customers. “Trusting ISPN with our network services and end-user customer support allows us to turn more attention to our acquisition strategy, growth and expansion,” Adams said. “In fact, we can afford to be more acquisitive with ISPN as a partner because we know we can absorb new customers and more business without having to double or triple our cost structures. ISPN’s numbers are well-deﬁ ned and easy to calculate.”
The partnership is growing for other reasons beyond new customers and acquisitions. Additional integrations between support systems will allow for even more intelligence and data sharing between Green Hills and ISPN. On the ﬁnancial side, Adams says the ISPN investment is not only easy to budget, it’s easy to justify from a growth and customer experience perspective as well. “We know we’re spending money wisely with ISPN because the KPIs related to customer calls, resolutions, and satisfaction are all very good and our networks have the uptime and speed to prove it, too,” Adams said. “Our customers appreciate the better overall experience, and our shareholders like the bottom-line proﬁtability.”
Green Hills Communications provides telecommunications, broadband and cable TV services to more than 7,500 customers, across 1,100 square miles in central Missouri.
To keep customer service levels high and staffing costs low, Green Hills partners with ISPN to provide outsourced, frontline support for internet, email, cable, and phone services
Overall business at Green Hills has doubled, the KPIs related to calls, resolutions, and satisfaction among its 7,500 customers have remained high, and the partnership between Green Hills and ISPN is expanding into new services and additional network responsibilities.