FairPoint Communications may be increasing its Ethernet footprint with business customers, but as it faces pricing pressures the service provider hopes its recent introduction of a managed Wi-Fi offering will enable it to make those customers more sticky.
While the telco is aware of the growing movement of service providers offering managed Wi-Fi services, it is differentiating its service via a set of holistic management tools.
Besides performing installation, which is just the first part of the process, FairPoint offers 24x7 monitoring of the Wi-Fi switch and network.
Centrally managed by FairPoint to quickly and proactively resolve any network performance issues, the Managed WLAN service provides wireless connectivity. The new service is based on Adtran's ProCloud Plus solution.
Keith Brain, director of product management for FairPoint, told FierceTelecom the telco’s Wi-Fi offering is not a "set it and forget it" type of service.
“If you put in Wi-Fi and you put in an install and forget where you put the equipment out there, they don’t monitor anything -- that’s where we differentiate ourselves,” said Brain. “Competitors will say, 'we’ll configure and put it out there' and you’ll notice the support level stops there.”
Unlike some cable operator offerings that may leverage the customer’s Wi-Fi network as a public hot spot, FairPoint offers each business customer a dedicated connection.
“This is totally to the customer and there’s no sharing and a 24x7 operation, which is the same as if we’re monitoring a router,” Brain said. “The nice part about the price level is we can go to the smaller customer who needs a couple of access points and not just someone who needs 75 access points.”
Thus far, the service is gaining interest in various verticals such as education and health care.
In a K-12 education market, the managed Wi-Fi network service will help support a number of online classroom applications, for example.
“We’re finding that schools are implementing new classroom learning initiatives such as one to one learning, online testing and virtual field trips,” said Greg Ross, VP of product management for FairPoint. “They are also creating policies for bring your own device.”
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