Technology. Tradition. Together.
You just might have heard these words before if you have anything to do with OTELCO. Technology is obvious; we’re a communication company. The fact that we’ve been serving rural communities for more than a century, speaks to Tradition. This story is a fabulous example of where Together comes in.
Granby, Massachusetts is a small town in the western part of the state. The Granby Telephone and Telegraph Company, now part of the OTELCO family, has been serving the community since 1903. Eighteen years later, according to its website, the Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) was founded in 1921 with an initial investment of $325.00 by a group of fifteen Polish immigrants to provide a systematic method of savings and low-cost loans to all residents of the local community. The original location was in Chicopee, but the institution has grown to eight locations, including one on West State Street in Granby.
Recently the PNCU contacted OTELCO Customer Care to ask about Internet service. Customer Care Associate Lori Graffam took the call and forwarded the request for information to David Chaplin, an Outside Plant Technician in Granby.
Typically, David would consult engineering maps to determine what level of service could be provided at the location. Instead, he opted to make a personal site visit and assess the available speed via live tests. When David asked to enter the credit union’s utility room for further investigation, Joe Pereira, the Regional IT Manager was contacted for permission and ultimately drove to the site to meet with David.
David conducted speed tests with his counterpart Nick Dube in the Granby Central Office (CO). When the results were shared with Pereira, the IT Manager indicated that he was not interested in DSL copper technology. The conversation turned to Lightwave, OTELCO’s fiber product, which had not yet been deployed to any fiber to the premise (FTTP) in Granby. Since this would have been a ground-breaking deployment, Dave offered to investigate the options for delivering Lightwave, albeit, without making any promises.
He knew that OTELCO had transport fiber right out in front of the credit union and knew there were enough spare strands and the necessary equipment at the CO to support the service. David was sure this transport infrastructure could be updated to support distribution.
Sounds simple, right? Sell the customer the fiber to the premise.
The truth is there are many behind-the-scenes elements to delivering FTTP – not the least of which in this case, is getting permission from corporate.
In many companies, a field technician wouldn’t even have a direct line of communication to senior management where these decisions are made. At OTELCO, David turned to New England Director of Field Operations, Wade Moffett to get the ball rolling.
A Team Effort
Moffett presented the proposal to senior management, and within a week had the green light for Dave and company to proceed. The first order of business was a Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) site survey to determine how to conduct the physical install. OTELCO staffers Laurie Thyng, Deb Sawyer, and Ian Brasslett took care of that and ultimately provisioned the network for the new service.
Administratively, not only did the Billing and Order Support System (BOSS) need to be configured to support the install, there was Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) as well as delivery equipment that needed to be provisioned to communicate properly on the network. That aspect of the project was coordinated by the customer care and billing departments and the Network Operation Center (NOC). Wade Moffett coordinated all the internal resources including materials, personnel, scheduling, and travel necessary to see the project through.
Simultaneously, Field Manager, Jason Pressley gathered all the necessary materials and supplies to conduct the work. Field Specialist Rick Foss reviewed every aspect of the installation process and conducted several meetings to assure a smooth and seamless installation.
When it came time to install the fiber, Joe Johns, a Fiber Technician from the OTELCO Outside Plant (OSP) in Shoreham, Vermont traveled to Granby to lend his expertise with the actual fiber splicing and final testing.
OTELCO Director of Network Engineering, Danielle Hopper, was instrumental in taking that physical fiber route and connecting it to OTELCO’s high-speed network. This involved port assignments, provisioning, conformance testing, and ordering of the correct lasers, routers, and other equipment. Danielle coordinated all the key personnel for a final meeting to review each aspect of the installation to ensure an error-free service delivery.
Pereira explained, “We moved to OTELCO for two reasons: local customer care and support, and because our former national provider was not able to provide sufficiently stable and reliable connectivity.”
OTELCO’s objective with this initiative was to serve the customer – and it did, but there’s much more to this story; some outside the box thinking, some innovative engineering, and a whole lot of teamwork has opened the door to fiber to the premise. But this goes way beyond this first customer.
By updating the transport fiber to distribution standards, OTELCO will be able to offer FTTP and cloud-hosted business solutions including its state-of-the-art VoIP business phone solution to business locations near PNCU. Additionally, Jason Fuller, OSP Engineering & Mapping Manager, and his team are investigating the feasibility of additional network upgrades that could make Lightwave available to private residences in the future.
Chaplin is relatively new to OTELCO, joining the team in 2018, “I’m amazed at how quickly our company made fiber to the business a reality in Granby. Coming from a much larger telecommunications culture, it was refreshing to participate in a well-orchestrated plan of action to deliver on a customer’s need rather than hearing the old ‘can’t be done’ mantra. From senior management to the boots on the ground, this is a great example of what happens when a vision is caught, and everyone works collaboratively to get the job done. The future of fiber in Granby has never been brighter and I’m very proud to be a part of it!”
If you are interested in learning how Lightwave can work for your business, or in any of OTELCO’s other business tools, book a complimentary consultation today. A business technology expert will work with you to assess your business needs and recommend the right solutions for you!