Coke or Pepsi. Uber or Lyft. Grubhub or DoorDash.

We’re not about to step into the middle of some of the great debates of our time, but when it comes to broadband’s own bones of contention – Fiber vs. HFC – we’ll just say this: no matter what the architecture, effective management is key to increasing revenue, improving customer satisfaction and reducing subscriber churn.

As we’ve transitioned this year from the trend of “Broadband First” to the torrent of pandemic-driven usage, the impact has been indiscriminate. Operators of both fiber and HFC networks have universally faced significant downstream and upstream consumption increases as work, education, family events and entertainment have moved to virtual platforms.

While fiber can be spared some of the “last mile” issues faced by operators of HFC plant, there’s no such pass when it comes to having greater visibility into how customers are using the network. Like their HFC brethren, fiber service providers are missing out if they don’t leverage the real-time data generated by broadband traffic to unlock new opportunities to improve their business outcomes. Here’s how that can work:

  • Revenue Growth – Insights into individual usage behavior can help identify subscribers who would benefit from a higher-tier plan or for whom there might be other monetization opportunities, while understanding of broader usage trends can inform package models that can drive revenue growth.
  • Package-Usage Alignment – Consumers whose usage is out of sync with the agreed-upon speed tier often place blame on the service provider. Our experience has been that subscribers are happier when they understand how upgraded packages can better match their consumption patterns.
  • Subscriber Satisfaction – Service providers can employ better understanding of individual consumers’ usage patterns to trigger automated notification around critical usage details, including the approach of service agreement bandwidth thresholds, and to help customer service representatives to anticipate subscriber issues and expedite results.

As experts on broadband consumption, we’ve seen during the current crisis how usage growth on fiber networks has been consistent with what our solutions have tracked for our cable customers. While the unevenness of the return to normalcy makes future predictions a challenge, we’re confident that most of the observed increases will be permanent.

That means no matter where you come down in the great broadband question – fiber or HFC –understanding subscribers’ online patterns is key to business success. And about that there should be no debate.