December 03, 2014
Mediacom Business Launches Real Customer Story Series
We recently chatted with Kristi Salmon, Mediacom Business’ Marketing Director, to find out what the telecommunications service provider is planning for 2015, especially concerning the hot topic of Google Fiber.
Georgia CEO: Can you explain what your Real Customer Story Series is?
Salmon: The Real Customer Stories series takes a look at some of our key fiber customers in verticals like government, education and healthcare. We spent a week in these towns to see how Mediacom Business’ fiber network has changed the way they do business and more importantly the advanced platforms they can now take advantage of. These stories are in the customer’s words and put in a documentary style format to ultimately show how critical broadband is to the survival of any business or city for that matter; that this type of access is what is driving economic development.
Georgia CEO: How did this concept come about, and what is your mission with this initiative?
Salmon: With the onset of Google Fiber—even though a residential push, not commercial—we saw a lot of our cities communicating that they wanted to be the next fiber city, or consultants coming in to do assessments on possible fiber builds for cities. We started the Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions campaign to let cities know, in our 22-state footprint, that you are essentially already a “fiber city”. That there is an existing infrastructure in place and its already being utilized by businesses in your area at speeds of up to even 10 Gig.
This is our proprietary network and I think what Mediacom Business brings to the table is the ability to manage and monitor that network. Anyone can build fiber, we’ve seen our cities do so, but when there is a cut or the network goes down, who is going to fix it? That’s when we get the call. So we are inviting cities to have conversations with us to talk about having this type of public/private partnership, let’s discuss underserved areas or key developing areas.
Georgia CEO: What has the reaction been so far?
Salmon: It’s been great….the cities we speak to know they have a partner in Mediacom Business and are a great reference tool to other areas in their communities. The mayors, cities planners, chambers and economic development contacts are the gate keepers to the community, they are the ones getting feedback from businesses who want/need broadband, they are the ones fielding questions from potential businesses who may want to settle in their area and want confirmation that they’ll have adequate broadband. Opening up the dialogue with Mediacom Business allows cities to be able to answer yes and say, “We can provide that access to you with a provider like Mediacom Business.”
Georgia CEO: Mediacom Business recently presented at GAETC (Georgia Educational Technology Conference). What did you present?
Salmon: The education vertical is a huge market for us and events like this allow us to get the word out that Mediacom Business can offer schools/libraries/colleges a highly scalable, high capacity fiber network to run their data/voice connections over. It’s of utmost importance to me that when the topic of broadband is being discussed that we have a place at the table. And when we show these documentaries, I think there is a “Wow, I didn’t know Mediacom Business did that” type reaction because people are so used to seeing us as the residential cable provider. And whether it’s a school in GA, AL or IA, they are all facing the same challenges…with decreased budgets, how are they going to give their students the best education possible that is going to prepare them for the future and position them to be able to compete. Mediacom Business has that answer for them!
Georgia CEO: What were the main concepts shared during the presentation?
Salmon: I think a big part of the education discussion is E-rate funding through USAC - many schools don’t know they can apply for discounts on broadband services and use them towards providers like Mediacom Business. But what I think is more compelling is the type of platforms our fiber solutions fuel, things like e-learning, distance learning, centralization of student records, online testing and having the bandwidth to actually conduct those platforms. With DSL/T1 connections, you’d most likely max out your connection. With Common Core and the mandatory online testing assessments, it’s got IT directors in schools thinking, do I have enough bandwidth to have all students in the district online at the same time? I spent a week in Alabama and I watched a class have a virtual field trip with an aquarium 2 hours away. Or a class use a student response system and via an iPad, a teacher can see instantaneously what students are struggling with. Or a principal standing in the hallway and being able to view 32 security cameras on an iPad. Those are all things being powered by Mediacom Business Gigabit+ Fiber Solutions.
Georgia CEO: What is the level of fiber availability in Georgia?
Salmon: In addition to schools, we have approx. 175 locations in the Columbus, Albany, Valdosta area that are connected to the Mediacom Business fiber network, some using up to a 10 Gigabit connection.
Georgia CEO: Can you explain the concept of digital immigrants versus digital natives and why it's important for educators and parents to understand?
Salmon: I love this quote from one of the Brewton City, AL principals. It’s this whole concept of how this generation of children are digitally focused. They are growing up on devices…you see babies playing with their parent’s iPhone or kids playing games on an iPad…their neurological pathways are changing, how they receive information, process it and communicate because of it. And that’s something teachers and administration are having to adjust to themselves, and even change the way the classroom operates or how they teach.
Georgia CEO: What else is in store for Georgia in terms of Mediacom Business, partnerships, and sponsorships, etc.?
Salmon: We are continuing to push the awareness and expanding our fiber build out as opportunities present themselves. We’ve been working with chambers in the area to make sure there is a dialogue with business owners and we are helping to craft custom solutions to take their business to the next level.
Georgia CEO: What's the next big thing in terms of digital services or digital in general from Mediacom Business’ point of view?
Salmon: That’s the best part about our fiber solutions and “pipe” to the business, its highly scalable, so what a business needs today, can easily be changed in the future without the need for additional construction or equipment. We simply turn it up….
Georgia CEO: Anything else you'd like to add?
Salmon: I think what sets Mediacom Business’ Gigabit+ platform apart from other major carriers is the markets in which we’re providing these solutions. Community anchor institutions, such as schools and hospitals, in the rural American markets Mediacom Business serves are getting access to “big broadband” connections for the first time, and the next-level applications they’re able to offer now are transforming the quality of life.