By: Jonathan Hartman
Partners say there is no shortage of demand for Ethernet services and they have no problem selling it. Customers understand the value proposition — Ethernet offers high-bandwidth, scalability, low latency and low cost. The problem is delivering on the demand.
Here are some of the common challenges:
While there have been great strides in penetration, Ethernet still is not ubiquitous. This is due largely to the fact that not every building is serviced by fiber. The majority of SMB locations do not have accessibility to direct fiber, whereas most enterprise locations are fiber-ready now. Use of the copper plant to deliver Ethernet can overcome lack of fiber, but EoC is subject to distance sensitivity; a customer typically must be within 12,000 feet, or about two miles, of a central office to take advantage of the service.
This is perhaps the biggest potential holdup in an Ethernet sale. One agent said installations are taking 120 days and longer. This may be caused by carrier’s needing to go off-net and use another carrier’s fiber or access facilities. To be fair, customers sometimes need to upgrade their own equipment to accommodate Ethernet, adding to installation times.
Another problem is that even though Ethernet is available to the building, it often is not inside the building and, in the case of a high-rise, to the tenant’s floor. Often the cost of this wiring is expected to be born by the customer. Some agents reported that progressive carriers are now looking at building that cost into the MRC to overcome customer objections.
Service Level Agreements.
One more problem that can crop up relates to service level agreements, or SLAs. Until recently, most Ethernet services have come with limited, if any, SLAs covering speed, quality and other requirements. But now that Ethernet is proving itself, carriers seem more willing to offer thorough SLAs. But it’s a work in progress. Since SLAs are all over the board and evolving, it’s important to know what the provider offers to make the best match to your customer’s requirements.
Customers are clamoring for Ethernet services to meet their growing network capacity requirements. Its low cost makes it a very attractive option and an easy sale. Sales partners‘ roles, then, are to manage customers’ expectations regarding availability of Ethernet services at their sites and the potential delays and unforeseen costs of deployment.