Telephone companies are downsizing because of the economy. That means fewer people do more work and often do jobs they haven’t been doing. That means training. Training is a big investment in time and money, whether you do it in-house or through a third party. Here are my thoughts on knowing when to train and how you can maximize your training dollars.
Cable fault location is a tough challenge but we’ve come a long way in helping technicians through technology and by learning from past mistakes. Assuming you have current maps (a big assumption, I’m told) and some good equipment, your job is a lot easier than that of the early pioneers of cable fault location (CFL).
Three quality services in one bundle with one bill are very attractive to consumers. The customer has one bill, one company, one contact, and one field technician. The opportunity for customer satisfaction is at maximum and, when it works, customer frustration would be at a minimum. But a key success factors to customer satisfaction is a knowledgeable technician and timely service.
The average technician finds and fixes four to five split cable pairs in his career. That’s not very many, and the reason is that split pairs are not repaired until all other vacant pairs have been used, and all other faulted pairs have been repaired and used. Only when the count is full, and a pair for a new service order is needed, is the split traced.
There is a considerable amount of confusion that takes place when testing vacant circuits tip and ring to ground to determine the amount of crossed battery on a faulted conductor, and if this crossed battery will affect customer service.
I love it when readers get fired up and argue with me. I’ve always said I’m not always right, and I want you to call me on it when you know a better way to do something. Russ Gundrum wrote the following response to my June article, Noise Mitigation a Problem? Hear him out but give me another chance by reading my response after Russ’ comments.
Each POTS cable pair that is fed from a central office or pair gain remote to the customer costs a telco at least $750 for engineering, placement, heating up, and installation. These pairs can be put out of service or have service affecting problems due to cable section failure, such as water in a splice, water in a section of air-core PIC, or sheath damage.
Most people struggle with change even if it is for the better, especially old telephone people like me. I thought it would be interesting to talk through some of those changes and the impact on the industry. We’ve gone from having one phone if you were rich to having phones throughout the home to enabling small businesses, work-at-home businesses, and the Internet.
There is no doubt in my mind that high-speed Internet, IPTV, and Video on Demand (VoD), plus a myriad of other new features, are the salvation of the telephone industry. Most new subdivisions will be fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). Service to existing subdivisions will be done by fiber-to-the-node (FTTN), and then paired copper wire for The Last Mile.
Telephone cables designed for plain old telephone service (POTS) are now being used for The Triple Play. We are using bandwidth for ADSL, HDSL, T1, and IPTV. But before you go thinking it's easy, be sure you examine and condition these old cable pairs, or you won't provide the bandwidth your customers expect and deserve.
Safety is something I learned to believe in during 1990 when an elderly gentleman shot out across a four-lane highway and I T-boned him at 55 mph. The old gentleman was seriously injured, and I lived only because of seat belts. I was thinking about it today, and so this column will dwell on safety.