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Fiber Frenzy & Labor Laments: Exploring the Need for Managed Services

Fiber Frenzy & Labor Laments: Exploring the Need for Managed Services

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Over the past few years, you may have heard the phrase “fiber frenzy” mentioned. With streaming video, IoT, cloud, HD video surveillance, and many more applications reliant on increased speed and bandwidth, customers continue to require better connectivity. Since fiber is the primary technology capable of supporting these applications, internet service providers (ISPs) have been racing to keep up with demand.

A 2022 study by the Fiber Broadband Association revealed that only 43% of households in the United States have access to fiber. Larger providers (like AT&T and Verizon) and the top five cable Multiple System Operators (MSOs) have built 72% of overall fiber broadband access. Tier 2 regional operators (like Windstream and Frontier) are responsible for 10% of the growth. Over 1,200 Tier 3 market players in the U.S. – working on smaller projects ranging from a single state to three or four states – are responsible for the remaining 18% of the build. This group is comprised of rural telephone cooperatives, private competitive carriers, rural electric companies, smaller cable companies, municipalities, and new fiber entrants, among others.

In 2022, 7.9 million homes in the United States added fiber, which was a record for the highest annual fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) growth. Construction forecasts for the next five years are massive, leading to the increased use of the term “fiber frenzy.” Traditional telecommunications companies, cable operators, municipalities, and electric cooperatives are all working towards the goal of connecting almost every household in the US with reliable, high-speed, low-latency, and future-proof fiber broadband.

Benefits of a Fiber-Based Infrastructure

There are numerous benefits to a fiber-based infrastructure, including:

  • Higher bandwidth – fiber allows for the ability to transmit larger volumes of data
  • Enhanced internet speed – less likely to slow down during periods of high demand
  • Less vulnerability to cyber attacks – fiber cables are harder to tap into undetected, and they offer a more secure connectivity infrastructure
  • Cloud access – faster speeds and increased bandwidth lead to faster access to assets stored in the cloud
  • Stronger signal – signal strength does not deteriorate as quickly at increased distances
  • Long-term reliability and durability – on average, fiber cables last for 25 years, and they will not break or deteriorate as quickly as copper wire

What are Managed Services?

As providers grow, labor and workforce needs continue to be one of the biggest pain points they experience. With respect to fiber (which was first developed in 1970 by Corning), the combination of an aging workforce and a lack of interest among young workers just starting their career has created a massive skills gap.

Many providers have turned to managed services to fill this void. These providers either partially or fully outsource the implementation and maintenance of infrastructure tasks to a third-party vendor who typically operates remotely. These vendors are known as Managed Service Providers, or MSPs. By offloading tasks to an expert, the managed services model allows the provider to reduce costs, improve service quality, and free up internal teams to work on core competencies.

The MSP is responsible for the functionality of the service and/or equipment, and the relationship is managed via a service level agreement (SLA). These agreements are usually billed monthly or via an annual subscription. In the past, managed service providers operated under a break/fix model, meaning action was not taken until there was a problem to fix. However, modern managed service providers take a much more proactive approach to the services they provide, which often includes predictive maintenance. 

Managed service offerings for ISPs address network design, application, infrastructure, diagnostics, security, customer support, and more.

Benefits of Using a Managed Service Provider

Organizations can enjoy many benefits when they choose the right MSP for them. These benefits include:

  • Filling the skills gap
  • Improved internal productivity and ROI
  • Reliability
  • Cost savings
  • Ensuring regulatory compliance
  • Training and a provider who stays up-to-date on trends
  • 24/7 support and monitoring

Get in Touch with Our Team

ISPN offers expert solutions for Broadband and Internet Service Providers nationwide, including telcos, electric cooperatives, municipalities, cable operators, WISPs, and MDUs. To learn more about our suite of managed service offerings, please check out our Solutions page.

Click here to get in touch, or you can reach us by email at info@ispn.net or phone at 866-584-4776.

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