Broadband Management: Controlling The Stakes

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Today, some service providers report that as few as 5% of subscribers consume

up to 60% of network resources. This can lead to poor quality or unavailable

service for the other 95% of subscribers. Offering poor service is no way to

ensure increased penetration. Many service providers find themselves caught in

the vicious cycle of improving infrastructure to increase available bandwidth,

only to find themselves in the same conundrum a year or two later with no

improvements in revenue stream.


Satisfying Subscribers

The unexpected popularity of peer-to-peer (P2P) networking and file sharing

applications, combined with the increased adoption of streaming media and

on-line gaming has taxed the supply of bandwidth. Long gone are the days when

the greatest consumers of bandwidth were those passing large file attachments

through e-mails. With other types of service providers beginning to actively

compete in the broadband market, cable operators have a limited opportunity left

to capture customers, build a loyal customer base, and find ways to improve

average revenue per user from their installed base. Increasing available

bandwidth is a temporary fix that will attract new customers; however, it will

not prevent churn as those subscribers leave in search of the cheapest broadband

access, and it will not improve revenue per subscriber.

For instance, broadband cable connections of 512 Kbps were common several

years ago. The connection speed gradually progressed from 1 Mbps to as high as

10 Mbps without much if any increase in revenue for the broadband provider. When

this type of network improvement took place, broadband providers had to upgrade

equipment throughout their networks and customer premises, retrain the entire

system, and ensure the backhaul could handle the additional traffic. Basically,

they found themselves caught in a vicious cycle of ever

increasing service with a static or decreasing revenue per subscriber.

To Monitor and Control

Since it monitors usage in real time, a dynamic broadband management

solution allows service providers to offer tiered services with monthly

bandwidth quotas. When these thresholds are reached, the subscriber is simply

prompted to purchase more blocks of bandwidth. A complete dynamic broadband

management solution will include a policy data store and subscriber portal. The

policy data store acts as a single unified database for all user profiles and

policies, while the subscriber portal acts as the central self-administration

tool that allows subscribers to actively manage their own accounts and service



One of the greatest challenges facing service providers is ensuring the

quality and availability that the subscriber expects/pays for. A dynamic

broadband management solution optimizes the available bandwidth by leveraging

the tiered service packages and providing guaranteed QoS levels for each

package. By implementing policy-based bandwidth management, the service provider

can limit bandwidth by application. For instance, P2P traffic has a certain

allocation. This allows service providers to control costs and ensure consistent

service levels for all subscribers. This type of “variable” QoS allows

service providers to create offerings with QoS mapped to them, providing

high-quality voice, data, and video as needed.

The dynamic
broadband manager gives subscribers the ability to manage their accounts,

temporarily or permanently increase their bandwidth levels, and change or

upgrade their packages though a self-serve portal

Improving ARPU

A dynamic broadband management tool needs to work in conjunction with

revenue collection systems. For instance, a dynamic broadband manager solution

would interface with a revenue collector and formatter to identify subscribers

and their usage, and to track any changes to a subscriber's service level.

This solution then streams the relevant data to incumbent billing systems. Being

able to track and control each subscriber's service not only offers easy

opportunities to offer subscribers who go over the limit more bandwidth, but

also give service providers the opportunity to turn on new services for a short

time to see if a subscriber is interested.


A dynamic broadband manager can be used to provide subscribers with a

“Turbo” button, to boost bandwidth for a desired length of time, such as

when downloading music or videos, or participating in a live web event. This

keeps the basic monthly fee low, but increases average revenue per unit (ARPU)

by charging for extra bandwidth usage.

Controlling Network Usage

Service providers need better options to maintain their QoS and capitalize

on the high-value services that their networks are already providing. They need

to selectively control their QoS and bandwidth levels, monitor and manage heavy

users, and, at the same time, increase average revenue on a per-user basis. This

means creating tiered service levels that subscribers are prepared to pay for,

and giving them the ability to dynamically change their service levels as

needed. It means offering bandwidth on demand for periods of heavy usage and

offering QoS that is mapped to specific services.

Since the dynamic broadband manager give subscribers the ability to manage

their accounts, temporarily or permanently increase their bandwidth levels, and

change or upgrade their packages though a self-serve portal, internal customer

service costs are reduce, and customer satisfaction is improved.

Russ Freen, co-founder and CTO,

Bridgewater Systems