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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Road Construction Ahead

We really wanted to give the community a great big gift for July 4, but, alas, fate, and our vendor, was not on board for our big surprise. What we intended to do was shock you with a major upgrade to our internet service that would have occurred while you were out celebrating the holiday. You would have loved it!

The upgrade we are now planning for August 12-14 will still make you happy, but now it is not going to be a surprise. During the days and nights of those three days we will be installing a new CMTS (Cable Modem Termination System) and moving all 4,600 EPB internet customers to the new CMTS. The CMTS is the engine of our internet business. Over the last several months we have been doing a lot of maintenance on our old engine and, at the same time, the people of Glasgow have been dramatically increasing their usage of the internet. As a result, the engine just has not been running up to par.

About four months ago we realized that internet traffic was growing more quickly than we could upgrade the old CMTS to accommodate. So, we went shopping for the biggest, baddest, fastest, newest CMTS (It's a HEMI!) on the market and we found it. When Motorola told us what it would cost, we fainted. But then when discussed the things many of our heavy usage customers were saying about our slowing service from the old CMTS and that had the effect of throwing cold water on us. We then woke up and gave them the order.

In reality, we really thought that our new FTTH (Fiber To The Home) architecture would grow so rapidly that we would not need a new CMTS. When your home or business is connected to the new FTTH system, you don’t even need a cable modem anymore as your internet service is delivered in scorching fast native Ethernet. But, out here in the real world, our FTTH rollout has been slower than we hoped and the growth of internet traffic in Glasgow has been far greater than we expected. So, a new CMTS for the cable modem customers became a necessary expense.

When we placed the order we agreed to pay a sum that is scary to behold, and they agreed to have it installed by July 4. But, as we have already discussed, they have now delayed us until August 12. We seem to get treated this way by vendors fairly often. It comes from being small. We plan on doing the installation mainly at night and that should have relatively little effect on your internet service as the installation takes place. However, while we are talking, you might as well know that these plans sometime go awry. Since so many folks are already unhappy with us because their service has slowed, there is little we hate more than telling you that the service might be interrupted some while we upgrade it, but that is the truth and we might as well discuss it. We hope you will see this as a small inconvenience in return for impressive improvements. For example, isn’t the section of Interstate 65 from the Cumberland Parkway to the Scottsville Road exchange in Bowling Green nice now? But, do you remember how awful it was while it was under construction?

In other words, those three days might be a bit like highway construction, but after the work is done the new highway will be well worth the trouble. We really hope you understand and we also really wish the surprise had worked out. Do we still get some brownie points for trying?

3 comments:

Icekrystal said...

There will always be people in our society that will complain, no matter what it is you are trying to do to improve their lives. But there are a far greater number of people, such as myself, who thank you for taking the plunge into this innovative technology that in the end will benefit us all.

I, for one, appreciate the forewarning and will plan my writign schedules around it.

Thank you again for the well defined explanation and the warning of possible outages.

Sincerly,

Debbie Craine

Cory Goode said...

I have been an EPB customer for a long time, and I have fussed about the service over the last year or so to friends and family. I understand what it means for something to be out of your control but that doesn't help the frustration felt at times.

I have always looked at the EPB as a forward thinking and progressive company. It is good to hear that something is being done to improve one of the areas of service that has been lacking in these past few months.

I do however wish that Glasgow's options for ISPs weren't so limited. I think competition breeds the best service available, while I don't think that the EPB has acted in a manor other than what is in the best interests of their customers, I do believe that if there were another Cable / Internet provider the issue would have warranted much more aggressive action.

To be honest I had already started shopping for a new ISP. One of the things I like about EPB, for my circumstances they are the cheapest choice for Internet Service. Changing would mean an increase in cost due to having to add traditional phone services that I don't currently need or utilize.

However, I was ready to accept this extra expense for improved service. Now, with this new information I will at least be waiting until the middle or end of August to make such a change. It is my expectation that no change will be needed and I like that because saving money is always a good thing.

Thanks for the information, Billy Ray, and I look forward to the "New EPB Internet Service". :)

Billy Ray said...

Debbie and Cory,

Thanks for reading and commenting. I have always felt that this blog could really help everyone by providing a vehicle for the EPB to explain what we are considering and for the customers to tell us what they want us to be doing. Unfortunately, very few folks use the comment function to accomplish the two-way conversation.

Cory, to your point about us needing more competition, we certainly feel we have plenty of that and worry every day about making our customers happy. You make a great point about our services being the least expensive. I hope you understand how that complicates matters for us when the next network upgrade is always so expensive. For us, it is like walking down a razor's edge all of the time.

One thing we know we can do better is to go ahead and plan our upgrades far before we think they are really needed. Time and again we get bullied by vendors that see us as small potatoes and they always spoil our timing by failing to deliver when promised. Shame on us if we do not learn from that and start acquiring finanacing and permission to order upgrades sooner as a way to limit the vendor's ability to cause us grief.

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