President and Chief Operating Officer, Calix
When I speak with leaders at our broadband service provider (BSP) customers there’s one thing that comes across loud and clear: They really care about their community. A common theme across BSP mission statements is “to improve the quality of life for our customers.” Undoubtedly, intelligent fiber broadband, coupled with amazing experiences, transforms subscribers’ lives for the better. In fact, many of your teams have made it your mission to bring services to communities that no other provider is able (or willing) to reach. This kind of leadership will have a multi-generational impact and transform rural North America for the better.
With the “better lives” mission front and center, many BSPs are now going well beyond speed and leading in the war against digital threats: viruses, malware, phishing, and unwanted intrusions. Cybersecurity represents a massive opportunity for BSPs who care about their members and subscribers to become a trusted community protector.
Cyberattacks Are a Clear and Present Danger—and a Leadership Opportunity for the Member/Subscriber-Focused BSP
The internet is a dangerous place. Fortune reported a 105 percent increase in ransomware cyberattacks worldwide in 2021, due to remote working outside office networks during the pandemic. In the U.S., the FBI received a record number of cybercrime complaints in 2021, with associated financial losses topping $6.9 billion. Factor in that the president of the United States recently tweeted that the federal government is supporting businesses as they prepare for Russian cyberattacks (but warning that the American people have a responsibility to prepare and protect themselves) and it becomes clear that a BSP’s investment in subscriber security will help everyone. The average person is ill-equipped to deal with the threat at hand.
Which leads to the question that every BSP must ask: What are we going to do to help? If your brand values are truly aligned to the mission statement of “better lives,” then you have a societal imperative to step up and become their first line of defense.
Show Them—Don’t Just Tell Them—You Put Them First
A great example of stepping up for the benefit of members is the decision that Kirby Underberg, CEO of Chariton Valley, and his team made recently. We highlighted this decision in the most recent issue of the Calix Leadership Beacon newsletter. His company’s mission is to make the lives of members better—first and foremost. Which is why his team decided to give every single member ProtectIQ® (virus, malware, and intrusion protection) as part of their service plans. In Kirby’s words, “We made the only decision a member-first organization can make—100 percent of members protected.”
Here are the views Kirby shared with me recently:
We take your member/subscriber well-being commitment seriously and will continue to invest to make this happen. We recently announced another way for a BSP to help communities: By supporting parents in protecting their children where social media companies have fallen short. Cyberbullying is a huge threat to their well-being these days. Eighty-five percent of teens are bullied, and 75 percent are involved in a self-harm situation. Our latest integration with Bark, a market leader in online safety, will make it easy for BSPs to enable parents to monitor social-media threats. This is a huge step forward for community-focused BSPs to grow their impact locally. Learn more in Megan Powell’s article in this issue, “85 Percent of Teens Are Cyberbullied, Protect Them With Support From Bark.”
Providing you with the tools to protect your subscribers and communities is a core part of the Calix offering. The Bark integration, alongside ProtectIQ and our home security solutions, takes this value proposition to the next level. It protects your subscribers inside and outside the home, and underlines your commitment to keeping them safe.
Whether you are a cooperative focused on member satisfaction or a more profit-minded BSP, Calix enables you to deliver on your brand promise. We want to make it easy for you to live your mission. We’ve bet our future on your success. That’s why we invested $1 billion to develop our analytics and platforms, and why we continue to innovate through every single quarterly cadence release. Together, we can demonstrate that you understand your subscriber better than any consumer giant ever could—and that you really (really) care.
President and CEO, Midwest Energy & Communications
At Midwest Energy & Communications (MEC), our vision is simple: Create vibrant, relevant, and sustainable rural communities. Over 85 years, we’ve made this a reality by delivering first-in-class innovations and solutions where others won’t. Electrifying communities across southern Michigan. Launching our smart grid. Rolling out fiber internet to bring high-speed connectivity to rural areas. These vital services have transformed our customers’ lives—and there’s much more to come.
20,000 Broadband Subscribers and Counting
Just seven years after rolling out our fiber network, we celebrated a major milestone: 20,000 subscribers. We’re not resting on this achievement, though. We’re building out an additional 3,000 miles of fiber that will reach more than 30,000 homes and businesses across southern Michigan.
In partnership with Calix, we’re able to provide an unparalleled subscriber experience. Our MEC Wi-Fi—built on the comprehensive Calix Revenue EDGE solution—delivers blazing-fast speeds and supports the ways subscribers live, work, and play today.
Protecting Subscribers Is a Top Priority: 14,713 Blocked Threats Shows It’s Working
As subscribers’ homes become more connected, they also become more vulnerable to viruses, malware, and other threats. Fortunately, Calix gives us everything we need to protect our subscribers, their families, and soon, their homes. Here’s how we’re doing it:
MEC is committed to investing in innovation to bring community-sustaining services to areas that would otherwise go unserved. Providing effective and affordable home security is just one more way we’re innovating to change the lives of our community members.
Contact the Calix Customer Engagement and Services team to discuss a strategy for adding ProtectIQ to your Wi-Fi package.
Director of Product Marketing, EDGE Suites, Calix
The internet improves our lives in so many ways, but it brings new threats for the most vulnerable members of society—our kids—who are spending up to seven hours a day online. Cyberbullying is now the most common form of harassment faced by teens and tweens, and Bark Technologies reports 85 percent of them experienced it in the past year. As part of our latest software release, we announced a new, out-of-the-box Calix Revenue EDGE integration with online safety solution, Bark. With this marketing-leading tool, even the smallest BSPs can expand their value to the communities they serve by helping families protect children at home, school, and everywhere in between.
Live Your Values—Keep Kids Protected From Violence
Your subscribers look to you to keep them and their children safe. Together, Calix and Bark—which monitored over 3.4 billion online activities last year—enable community-minded BSPs like you to protect your subscribers by seamlessly integrating Bark online monitoring capabilities into Calix Revenue EDGE Suites. You can provide a safer internet experience through Bark’s artificial intelligence (AI) monitoring technology which detects and alerts families about cyberbullying, online predation, self-harm, suicidal ideation, violence, and more across text messages, emails, YouTube, and 30+ apps and social media platforms.
Here’s how to easily market, deploy, manage, operate, and support this industry-leading social media monitoring offering.
Whether it’s parental controls, home network security, or online monitoring to prevent threats to kids, you can confidently protect your subscribers from digital threats and bring value to the communities you serve with Bark in EDGE Suites.
Learn more about how BSPs can protect their communities’ most vulnerable members with Calix parental controls and the online safety tool, Bark.
AVP, Product Marketing, Revenue EDGE – Marketing Cloud and Revenue Solutions, Calix
As the agents of change in their organization, BSP marketers are uniquely positioned to anticipate subscribers’ shifting demands and needs. With our advanced analytics engine Calix Marketing Cloud (Marketing Cloud), we enable marketers with the behavioral and demographic insights they need about subscribers to do everything from selecting markets for expansion to running sophisticated marketing campaigns that grow their brands and revenue.
Do You Want To Increase Your Engagements by Up to 200 Percent?
How do we do it? By automating and simplifying campaign management—including out-of-the-box support for the popular email and social platforms that marketers rely on. Marketing Cloud already supports Facebook, HubSpot, and Mailchimp and we’re now integrating leading email marketing solution Constant Contact too. This new integration enables marketers to deploy world-class omnichannel marketing campaigns with ease, avoiding the wasted time spent manually importing and exporting email lists. Marketing teams use these solutions to increase their marketing engagement rates by up to 200 percent.
One such BSP is North Dakota-based Polar Communications. Polar used Marketing Cloud and Facebook to run campaigns that drove a 380 percent increase in downloads of its branded version of the Calix CommandIQ® app in just six months. It will now take advantage of the new Constant Contact integration, too.
“Each time Calix announces new integrations and features to Marketing Cloud, they have a direct positive impact on my workflow,” says Lisa Olson, marketing specialist at Polar Communications. “This integration will free our time so we can execute four times as many monthly email campaigns that increase engagement and emphasize the value of our services."
How Audience Automation Is Transforming Direct Mail Campaigns
We’re also enhancing Marketing Cloud’s existing integrations with HubSpot and Mailchimp to support direct mail campaigns. More than three-quarters of BSPs rank “snail mail” as a top or medium marketing priority for reaching new subscribers. But snail mail can be expensive and inefficient. With the new audience automation functionality in the latest release of Marketing Cloud, we make it easy for even the smallest BSPs to run targeted direct mail campaigns that increase response rates and grow revenue.
Regional Vice President, Customer Success Services, Calix
What’s the one thing that is sure to negatively impact a subscriber’s experience? When a BSP can’t resolve an issue swiftly. Your frontline support agents must diagnose and address network issues on that very first call. Even better—identify the problem before subscribers make that call.
Get it right and your subscribers will love you for it. Swift problem resolution has a direct, positive impact on customer satisfaction, as measured by the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It creates satisfied subscribers that are far more likely to stay loyal—even if a cheaper rival comes calling.
Increased Visibility Can Cut Call Handling Times by 27 Percent
Providers are already reaping the benefits. For example, Tennessee-based Forked Deer Electric Cooperative is seeing a 27 percent reduction in call times. “This level of support would not be possible without the end-to-end view of the subscriber experience Support Cloud offers, which instills confidence in our CSRs as they continue to resolve complex issues faster,” says Brian Vaughn, vice president of operations, Forked Deer.
Calix Support Cloud (Support Cloud) is the industry’s only offering that gives support teams end-to-end visibility into the subscriber-facing network. And, in the latest Calix quarterly software release, we’re equipping support staff with even more new capabilities to help them resolve issues without delay or escalation—further reducing OPEX and truck rolls.
Deeper Network Insights Boost Customer Support Productivity
Introduced last year, the Quality of Experience (QoE) Score provides a complete health check of the subscriber’s WAN service and Wi-Fi experience in a single metric. We’re now expanding this capability to provide a seven-day historical view of this data. This addresses the common problem of a subscriber reporting an issue after the event. The agent can now roll back over seven days to identify exactly what occurred. It also builds a historical picture of network health over time—enabling support teams to proactively identify network problems and address them before they impact the subscriber.
Calix is introducing more features to enhance the customer support experience, including:
Sign up for further information on our upcoming virtual session on how to maximize your investment in Support Cloud.
Senior Director, Product Marketing, Calix
Leading analyst firm Dell’Oro Group forecasts that most BSPs will have made the move to XGS-PON by next year—a much faster migration than previously expected. But how can BSPs offer 10G PON speeds efficiently and cost-effectively?
The answer is with the Wi-Fi 6-capable Calix GigaSpire® BLAST u6x system, which unlocks all of the end-to-end software capabilities of the Intelligent Access EDGE and Revenue EDGE platforms within a single unit. It is simple to install, deploy, and upgrade—and now it's 10G-ready too.
Upgrade Your Subscribers to 10G Twice as Fast
We’ve added a seamless way to move to XGS-PON by making the GigaSpire BLAST u6x the first system in the industry to support instant 10G upgrades via a swappable SFP module. This allows the BSP—or even the subscriber themselves—to simply plug in the new module to upgrade, while at the same time reducing deployment and provisioning times by 50 percent.
This development unlocks several advantages:
Our customers can’t wait to use these new features to get ahead of the competition. “We’re rolling out GigaSpire BLAST u6x systems across our footprint to future-proof our networks, increase our bandwidth, and be in a position to quickly turn on faster speeds and value-added services to our subscribers,” says Chris Johnson, general manager of Nebraska-based Mainstay Communications. “Plus, it means we need less equipment, which means fewer potential points of failure, lower cost, and simplified supply chains.”
Director, Access Network Product Marketing, Calix
Cyberattacks against critical infrastructure such as energy, transport, and networks are on the rise. As a BSP, you are at risk. And confidence in your network security is increasingly key to growing your business. Are you doing enough to keep your subscribers safe?
Here are five steps you can take today:
Calix is helping you strengthen your security. In the latest quarterly update for Intelligent Access EDGE, we introduced an advanced routing module (ARm) enhancement that prevents unauthorized network traffic from flowing between interfaces in the subscriber-facing network and potentially attacking the network. This protects the network by stopping communication between different devices on the network—boosting network health and reducing downtime.
Using Security Features to Drive Subscriber Loyalty
Deploying subscriber-facing security services will not only strengthen cybercrime defenses, but will also increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Two-thirds (67 percent) of BSPs in a recent Heavy Reading/Calix survey cited home network security as a likely driver of “stickiness,” followed by device security (41 percent)—the two most-cited upsell use cases.
“As a small fiber ISP, we’re always looking for ways to be competitive and provide a unique product for our customers,” says Robbie Wright, chief executive officer of Hyak of Florence, Oregon. “Calix’s Intelligent Access EDGE enables Hyak to securely deploy our network down to the subscriber premises. And when paired with ProtectIQ® and ExperienceIQ™, we’re able to offer a full security suite, for ourselves and our customers—giving us a leg up on the competition.”
Watch the webinar replay, “Have You Done All It Takes to Secure Your Network?” to learn more about security best-practices you'll need to keep your network protected.
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Release Notes for R22.2