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Mar 31, 2023
4 min

Take Safe and Secure Wi-Fi Into Your Communities—and Transform Your Business

It’s a great time to be in the subscriber experience business. Advances in Wi-Fi technologies such as Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E mean your subscribers enjoy a residential managed service that is vastly improved from just a few years ago. That’s great! But it may not be enough to differentiate yourself from the competition and help build your business. To do that, you need to explore new managed services that unlock new subscriber experiences and deliver real subscriber value—beyond the residential setting.

This is why we are delivering a new era of managed services on the Calix platform. These new services are enabling broadband service providers (BSPs) to grow into adjacent markets beyond the residential sector, including small businesses (via SmartBiz™) and community-wide Wi-Fi (via SmartTown™).

A New Approach to Community Wi-Fi

Let’s focus on community. Extending the residential managed Wi-Fi experience beyond the four walls of the home may seem like a costly, complex—and risky—proposition. It’s certainly true that “public” or “community” Wi-Fi deployments have historically suffered from weak security and patchy performance, resulting in a poor reputation among users.

But Calix has reimagined community Wi-Fi with SmartTown. The SmartTown network is built by connecting residential Wi-Fi 6-enabled Calix GigaSpire BLAST® and GigaPro systems. This allows BSPs to create a low-cost, high-capacity Wi-Fi network that extends the private, secure, and safe home Wi-Fi experience into the neighborhood and beyond. BSPs can further extend Wi-Fi coverage by deploying new access points in public gathering areas. You can use the Calix platform to easily configure and support subscribers as well as hotspots. Community members can then join SmartTown and access Wi-Fi on the go, through school or work, or at a town event.

SmartTown enables BSPs to:

  • Differentiate from competitors. Others might have a competing residential service, but are they able to serve the wider community too?
  • Drive greater subscriber loyalty. SmartTown is a managed service that adds real value to subscribers, driving “stickiness” and loyalty.
  • Enhance brand visibility. Taking your service out to workplaces, schools, and outdoor events elevates your brand in the communities where you are active.
  • Build strong relationships with the public sector: You’ll be embedded deeply in the communities that you serve, enabling greater collaboration.
  • Unlock new market and revenue opportunities: From smart city infrastructure to outdoor event connectivity, you’ll be well placed to tap into new markets.
  • Maximize return-on-investment on existing infrastructure. SmartTown does not mean building a new network from scratch. Instead, it builds on the investments you’ve already made in deploying fiber infrastructure.

Community the Next Frontier for Innovation

According to respondents in our recent webinar survey, about one in five BSPs offer some form of community Wi-Fi today—but a further 40 percent are considering doing so within the next year. One provider gearing up to launch SmartTown is Tombigbee Fiber, an arm of the Tombigbee Electric Power Association based in Tupelo, Mississippi. Tombigbee began deploying fiber across its footprint in 2020 on the Calix platform. It is already taking care of its subscribers by offering a range of Calix managed services within the home.

And now it plans to connect its existing installed base of GigaSpire BLAST systems to bring SmartTown to the town of Mantachie in Itawamba County. The new network will span public gathering areas, event centers, and private locations. It will drive community engagement, enable new public services—and could even push up real estate values.

“It’s no longer sufficient to simply provide fiber to the home, it’s the quality and range of services that we offer that makes us different,” says Tombigbee Fiber CEO Scott Hendrix. “By deploying SmartTown, we can be an innovator as well as a provider. It means we can build loyalty, differentiate, and drive greater participation on our new networks.”

It’s easy to get up and running with SmartTown because it’s offered on the Calix platform as a managed service like any other. That means seamless onboarding, troubleshooting, and customer support, using the Calix Cloud tools you likely already have in place.

Take your subscriber experience to the next level—and become a giant in your community!

Watch our latest webinar, “Beyond Residential: Capturing New Markets in Your Community”, to discover how to grow your reputation, drive “stickiness,” increase customer satisfaction, and differentiate yourself from the competition

Director, Solutions Marketing Residential and Community WiFi, Calix

Candice Mayberry Storsveen is passionate about bridging the digital divide and delivering world-class connectivity to communities large and small. She brings more than 17 years of telecommunications experience to her role at Calix as the director of solutions marketing - residential and community wi-fi. Her expertise in strategic planning, data-analytics, and business development helps BSPs bring innovative broadband solutions to life.

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