This case study explores how an electric co-op in Navasota, Texas has accelerated their broadband deployment, and driven operational efficiencies by partnering with GLDS® and Calix to deploy fiber Internet services. GLDS’ best-of-suite approaches combined pre-integrated customer management, customer self-care, e-commerce, workforce management and subscriber billing with fully-automated service delivery for Calix’s Intelligent Access EDGE customer premise fiber solutions, and Revenue EDGE.
Growing in popularity among electric co-ops nationwide, MidSouth Electric Co-op heard from its members that they wanted fiber Internet, and they wanted the co-op to provide it. The co-op had been working on smart-grid initiatives, improving connectivity between its own offices and existing electronic devices in the field to maintain system reliability.
The need for broadband Internet service was becoming more apparent, which required a strong broadband fiber-first billing system, technical support teams, and an efficient member-management framework. At the time of their broadband internet service launch in early 2020, MidSouth decided to leverage a purpose-built fiber billing, customer management and service delivery system rather than trying to include fiber services within their current CIS (customer information system). They needed a billing partner that was ready to go and able to handle complex management requirements.
“First and foremost, we are an electric co-op dedicated to meeting the needs of our membership. What started with electricity in the 1940s, has evolved to water and wastewater in the 1990’s and 2000’s, and now high-speed internet in 2020,” shared Janine George, Metering Manager at MidSouth Electric Co-op.
As an electric co-op new to the broadband market, the task of building a broadband service network had a unique learning curve and challenges. Mid-South engaged consultants and contractors to help with the fiber build-out which consisted of three phases and eight initial substations in rural and densely populated areas where the demand for broadband was much higher
“Our existing billing system did not meet our goals. GLDS offered many of the features that MidSouth was looking for to help power our new fiber service launch. We needed business and operational support systems that were ready to handle the requirements of a complex fiber deployment… our existing system was not capable of meeting our needs. GLDS came highly recommended by other utility companies,” offered George.
MidSouth selected GLDS for the flexibility of their solutions, and for the company’s ability to provide deep integration with MidSouth’s fiber broadband access partner Calix. GLDS’ integrated BroadHub® customer management and billing system, and SuperController® service delivery automation system, ensure the Co-op’s Calix broadband access ONU delivers the right service to the right customer. Reducing costly manual data entry errors and troubleshooting time translates to quantifiable reduction in operational work hours saved swiveling between operational and billing systems. Automated service delivery also makes for happier customers as changes in service are delivered to MidSouth customers in real-time.
“It was apparent that GLDS and Calix had the knowledge and industry experience to help us get setup and meet our deadlines,” said George. “We had dedicated technical support that was always available and their ability to help guide us in structuring our processes to improve our efficiency was impressive. GLDS’ ability to produce comprehensive reports, and automatically schedule delivery of that data to stakeholders was a total game changer.”
Additionally, GLDS empowered MidSouth customers with web-based self-care capabilities including the ability to sign-up for service and manage their account over the life of the relationship. With options for regional tax management, mobile apps that aid field technicians, SMS and email based customer engagements, customizable data reporting, extensive integration points covering many functions of the BroadHub platform, and a user-friendly platform, MidSouth was able to launch their broadband offering with competence, and confidence.
“We are proud to partner with GLDS and MidSouth Electric Co-op to accelerate high-speed broadband rollouts for rural Texans throughout Grimes, Montgomery, Madison, Walker, Brazos and Waller counties,” offered Bill Wallet, Director, Broadband ISV Partners, Calix. “We are especially excited that Calix Revenue EDGE and Intelligent Access EDGE are enabling MidSouth to positively impact the economies of these rural communities by providing reliable access to high-speed broadband services.”
Through social media, email blasts, co-op Magazine, and word-of-mouth, more residents are becoming aware of the new fiber offering. It was truly a life changing experience for MidSouth customers to finally enjoy broadband Internet and have the option for a smart home, especially in rural areas where they never thought it was possible. Their members are excited for the transformation that fiber broadband brings. It has had a major economic impact within the community, especially for digital entrepreneurs and small business which now have access to reliable broadband services.
George concluded, “It took absolutely every employee at MidSouth to make this fiber project a success and I’m just really proud of that team. We are very grateful for the hard work that GLDS, Calix and their partners have contributed to help small utilities and co-ops like MidSouth bring high speed internet to rural America.”
MidSouth Case Study
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