Ask the Experts: How Do I Move To a Fiber-Based Solution?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by CloudServicesUniversity.com. In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle talks about how it’s never been easier to move customers to a fiber infrastructure with Time Warner Cable’s Ethernet Product Manager Dan Barlow. Find out more about the guaranteed service quality and scalability found in fiber-based solutions from Dan and the Time Warner Cable team here: http://twc.cloudservicesuniversity.com/

Andrew: All right guys, we’re diving into our next Ask the Experts session. I have with me here today Dan Barlow. Dan from Time Warner Cable, the Ethernet Product Manager. Dan, welcome back man.
Dan: Hey, thanks for having me again. It’s a pleasure always to talk with you guys.
Andrew: Very cool. Today’s subject is fiber. It’s something I know that is near and dear to your heart. We’re talking about being able to put fiber into a customer building for high-speed access. It’s a really fascinating topic. I want to ask you this question: if a customer is considering putting fiber in and they’re not on net today, meaning they don’t already have Time Warner Cable fiber services into their building. How do they get that? What’s the process? What are the components they’ve got to be thinking about as our sales partners begin to contemplate moving their customers to a fiber infrastructure? What should they be processing, man? Give us some wisdom about that.
Dan: The first thing that needs to be done–if the building isn’t on net–the first thing that needs to be done is somebody needs to put in a site survey. What that means is we look at our plant maps, our drawings–we may go out and do a walk out–and we determine what are the costs to Time Warner to build fiber from our nearest splice point into that facility. Once we have those costs, then we look at–all right, what is the potential revenue? We have a rate of return model that we run that against. Generally speaking, with that rate of return model, there’s no up-front cost or minimal up-front cost to the consumer.
Andrew: Wow, that’s fascinating. That’s always been a challenge that’s prohibited most companies–not, well yeah, perhaps most companies–from being able to justify a fiber build. It sounds like that story’s changed. You guys are an example of a company that’s willing to make the investment to provide that kind of fiber build to a customer if the numbers work out on the back end.
Dan: Right, right. What we do is we take that cost and we say, “This is a cost of us doing business. This is a cost, this is how much money’s coming in, this is how much money’s going out.” We also look at things like, “All right, are there multiple tenants in the building? What’s our opportunity for growth?” Things like that. We’re always looking to build out our fiber footprint, so to speak.
Andrew: Yep, love it. Let’s say that they go through that justification; you guys come up with a really generous offer to get fiber into their building and they say, “I’m good to go. Let’s rock and roll on this.” What do they gain from moving from maybe a traditional T1 environment or a coax environment to now fiber? What are the two or three key things that they should expect to be different?
Dan: Well, you brought up T1. Anything with TDM, the hard part about dealing with the old TDM infrastructure is in order to get more bandwidth, you have to wait for them to build in something else. Whereas with fiber you have the scalability. Our speeds go all the way from 5 meg all the way up to 1 gig standard.
Andrew: Without changing anything on the actual fiber itself? You just change electronics, right?
Dan: We don’t even have to change electronics. All we have to do is change some provisioning. We may have to change what port it’s fed out of on the equipment, but it’s really just a provisioning change. We do go to speeds above 1 gig. Those are dealt with on an individual case basis and are subject to network availability and network traffic, so on and so forth.
Andrew: Got it. But 5 megs to 1 gig, that’s an enormous scalability on fiber, so that’s one big advantage. What’s another one? Perhaps maybe around repair. What happens in an outage?
Dan: What we also do with our fiber-based solutions: we offer an SLA. We offer four-hour mean to repair. What does that mean? First of all, what does an SLA mean? SLA means that we give the consumer, “Here are our guarantees. If we don’t meet them, we pay you back money.” We offer an SLA on mean to repair, four hours. That’s not mean to diagnose, that’s mean to repair. That’s from when the problem is called in to when it’s fixed.
Andrew: Yeah, and we’ve talked about that term–that mean time to repair. That’s important because outside of that, without that SLA, it’s kind of a best effort case, right? It might take a lot longer than four hours.
Dan: It could, it could. The other great thing about fiber, when you’re talking about fiber versus a coax solution: latency. We offer latency SLA, we offer a frame delay variation. The other nice thing with our fiber products: we are MEF, Metro Ethernet Forum certified. We’re the only carrier that’s certified for all eight products.
Andrew: Got it. Very cool. If I can guarantee my quality of service across that–you have some latency guarantees built into the SLA, you’ve got performance guarantees, you’ve got mean time to repair guarantees built in–this is the kind of infrastructure, added to the scalability piece, which is enormous: that’s the kind of business-class infrastructure that a lot of companies really, really need to run their mission critical applications.
Dan: Yeah, that’s really where the entire industry is going towards. The legacy TDM, those kind of services are generally being phased out. Everybody’s going to fiber-based backbone infrastructure. Why? Because of scalability, because of the ability to possibly service multiple customers over a single fiber strand. We do that by multiplexing.
Andrew: Very cool. Got it. That’s fascinating stuff. Dan, this has been great. Thanks for diving into these types of details with us on fiber. Guys, get your customers on fiber. You’d be surprised how small your customer may be and still be able to justify a fiber build. Time Warner Cable’s doing a lot of that kind of business with us now. We’re super excited about that. Dan, thanks for joining us, man.
Dan: Sure, thank you. You guys have a great day and let me know if you need anything else.
Andrew: Very cool. That’s Dan Barlow, guys. He’s the Ethernet Product Manager for Time Warner Cable, hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and a member of the esteemed faculty here at the Cloud Services University. Make sure you check out the Time Warner Cable learning center and dive into a lot more detail about what they’re doing to help you guys win big deals in both the coax and the fiber worlds. Dan, thanks; and everyone, good selling.