Light Reading

Jackson Energy Enhances FTTH Billing

Jason Meyers
6/26/2014
50%
50%

One of the first municipal utilities in the US to enter the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) domain a decade ago added new BSS intelligence into its service this week, with the goal of appealing to more customers with integrated billing for a wide range of services.

Jackson Energy Authority (JEA), which launched its FTTH network in Jackson, Tenn. in 2004, upgraded the business support system for its EPlus Broadband division to ETI Software Solutions ' Overture platform. JEA has used ETI's software in its network since launch, but only to provision and bill for video and data services, says Ben Lovins, senior vice president of telecommunications for JEA. Overture will manage all BSS functions -- from order entry to rating to service activation to billing -- for all triple-play services and also tie into the company's utility billing platform to provide a single statement, he says.

Since JEA provides a plethora of utility services -- electricity, gas, water, wastewater, and propane -- in addition to its triple-play offering, the ability to offer customers a single bill could be a draw -- though Lovins admits some customers might also balk at seeing a bill that could total several hundred dollars.

For ETI, the primary challenge was integrating all the data and records from JEA's legacy telephony billing system into Overture, said John McBurney, program manager for ETI. About 50% of ETI's customers are utilities, and the balance are telcos and cable operators, said Justin Nevius, account manager for ETI.

"We see a huge uptick with the utility and electric co-op market," Nevius says. "We have lots of customers that are realizing they're not integration experts."

Indeed, many BSS and OSS vendors that have traditionally targeted telecom service providers are eyeing new or expanded opportunities in the utility sector, says Tim McElligott, senior consulting analyst at Stratecast, a division of Frost & Sullivan -- and they're right to, given the parallels to the telco transition of a decade and more ago.

"The whole utility industry is about to go through what telecom went through -- making the change from being a regulated provider of commodity services to being a customer-centric provider of services on a transformed network," McElligott says. "The experience that the telcos and their vendors went through means a lot and can help utilities as they go through the same thing."

JEA's FTTH network passes about 35,000 potential customers and currently has about 18,000, Lovins says. The utility is now in the process of upgrading the FTTH network to offer gigabit services, as well as introducing technologies on the utility side that will allow for functions such as smart metering, voltage reduction and analytics, he says.

"The only reason we don't yet offer a gig is that we started so early," Lovins says.

JEA is hopeful that its evolving network will have an impact on economic development, attracting and retaining high-tech talent and businesses to the region. The company recently worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority to certify and prep a site for an enterprise data center, already looped with fiber, in hopes of attracting a company like Google to the area, he says.

"We're trying to go from cotton to the cloud," Lovins says.

— Jason Meyers, Utility Communications Editor, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/28/2014 | 7:10:06 AM
any major IT investments
> The company recently worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority to certify
> and prep a site for an enterprise data center, already looped with fiber, in
> hopes of attracting a company like Google to the area, he says.

This is good news for Tennessee valley. I hope other states' utility companies are taking notes. So are there any major IT investments by other companies since this development?
SachinEE
100%
0%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/28/2014 | 5:19:15 AM
RE: Bill Shock versus bill unification
Of course there will be a great improvement on the economic development, all thanks to JEAs evolving network. JEA also takes credits to the provision of electricity water, gas, waste water and propane. As a result, the ability to offer customers a single bill could end up being a draw. But the question that every individual poses in their minds is whether the single bill will reduce the number of con summers or not. I also wonder if the triple plays have any plans of increasing the bills.
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/28/2014 | 4:21:34 AM
Re: Bill shock versus bill unification
My experience of being a marketeer tells me:
  • From a good provider, a happy customer who has had a good experience will ask for more services and be ready to pay more. 
  • From a bad provider, an angry customer wants to cut the cord - let alone buy more
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
6/27/2014 | 10:19:26 AM
Re: Bill shock versus bill unification
I think if you like your service provider, the bill shock is not the issue it once was. But if you think you are getting lousy service then seeing those numbers every month just makes you angrier. 

I'd agree they have to deliver on their service promises from the get-go. 
jasonmeyers
50%
50%
jasonmeyers,
User Rank: Blogger
6/27/2014 | 10:17:19 AM
Re: Bill shock versus bill unification
As a consumer (and a bad budgeter) I'm not sure I would want to see a bill for ALL my services on one bill. But it certainly puts pressure on providers like JEA to offer great service and avoid customer backlash. 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
6/26/2014 | 2:15:56 PM
Bill shock versus bill unification
This is an interesting strategy on a couple of fronts - integration for efficiency of operations is one, and ease of payment by customers is another.

I wonder if, in this age of service bundling, the single bill will stagger some consumers or whether the triple plays and family plans have prepared us all for bigger bills. 
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Networks of the future will rely on "white box" switches and servers rather than proprietary hardware and that's going to alter the shape of the communications industry. Who says so? John Chambers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Power Play With GrupoGiro

4|1|15   |   2:51   |   (0) comments


Daniel Heredia, CEO of Energiro, the power management services part of Spain's Grupo Giro, explains why his company has just struck a partnership with Huawei for uninterruptible power supply products and how he hopes it can take the partnership into other markets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Intros Smart Device for eLTE

3|30|15   |   05:25   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed a secure, location-aware multimedia smartphone for its eLTE trunked radio solution, says Huawei's Norman Frisch.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Win Video, Win All

3|30|15   |   06:44   |   (0) comments


Video is going to be the next main source of revenue for operators. Operators have big opportunities and advantages to monetize video services. Globally, Huawei has helped more than 70 operators achieve over 30 million video subscribers. Watch this video for more.
LRTV Custom TV
The Benefits of HyperScale Clouds for NFV

3|27|15   |   01:50   |   (0) comments


Hyperscale cloud has been developed by the Internet giants to support the creation and delivery of software-based services at blistering speeds, and at the lowest possible cost. The original ETSI NFV vision was to adopt hyperscale cloud architecture and practices. This vision has become somewhat obscured along the way, due to misunderstandings about the hyperscale ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
eLTE Rapid Meets the Need for Speed

3|26|15   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


Designed especially for emergency and dedicated ad hoc local mobile communications coverage, Huawei's eLTE Rapid solution can deliver trunked voice, video and data coverage for multiple users over a 6km range and be set up in just 15 minutes, explains Huawei's Norman Frisch.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
On Videos: Challenges & Opportunities

3|26|15   |   5:56   |   (0) comments


Most everything is now connected. And along with 4K and 4G technologies, everyone could be creating and broadcasting video contents. Users are expecting better video experience with any screen, anywhere and anytime. Operators will meet new challenges, but also see some big opportunities.
LRTV Custom TV
JDSU: Delivering Dynamic Networks for a Personalized Experience

3|26|15   |   5:59   |   (0) comments


Light Reading speaks to JDSU at Mobile World Congress 2015 about new solutions in the areas of HetNets, VoLTE, backhaul, virtualization, big data analytics, and real-time intelligence.
LRTV Custom TV
Smarter Service Chaining & New Ways to Benefit From Qosmos Technology

3|25|15   |   03:11   |   (0) comments


David Le Goff, director of strategic and product marketing at Qosmos, explains how the company has added application awareness to subscriber information to make service chaining more efficient and reduce costs for networking and infrastructure. In addition, Qosmos technology, which has been delivered as C libraries, is now also available as a virtual machine, ...
Between the CEOs
Qosmos CEO: The Changing Face of DPI

3|24|15   |   13:53   |   (0) comments


LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures. Also, how the comms market is becoming more like the automotive industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FC Schalke Scores With Its Agile Stadium

3|24|15   |   6:23   |   (0) comments


Top German soccer club FC Schalke 04 has deployed a new, agile WiFi network from Huawei in its Veltins-Arena stadium and is reaping the benefits in terms of customer satisfaction and business opportunities, explains marketing chief Alexander Jobst.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Insights on Mobile Video

3|24|15   |   7:51   |   (0) comments


More people than ever are now watching videos on smartphones. Seventy percent of mobile traffic will be video traffic until 2018. In this video, Huawei's exports give their insights on mobile video in terms of business model, network planning and 4G network construction.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Industry 4.0

3|24|15   |   02:26   |   (9) comments


Are you ready for the fourth industrial revolution? It's a big deal for influential operators such as Deutsche Telekom.
Upcoming Live Events
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
AT&T Woos SMBs With Small-Scale WiFi
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/26/2015
Just Don't Say IBM Is 'Relaunching' Networking Business
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 3/26/2015
TV Everywhere Nears Mainstream Adoption
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 3/27/2015
Carriers Are Bright Spot in BlackBerry Q4
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/27/2015
Comcast Says TWC Deal Will Close Later
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 3/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
Chattanooga’s EPB publicly owned utility comms company has become a poster child for how to enable a local economy using next-gen networking technology. Steve Saunders, Founder of Light Reading, sits down with Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, to learn how EPB is bringing big time tech to small town America.