By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
More and more ISPs across the world offer some form of home Wi-Fi quality and coverage guarantee. But what are such guarantees worth without real solutions for delivering quality Wi-Fi to back them up? ‘‘Guaranteed home Wi-Fi’ needs to be more than just a marketing exercise,’ says Canada-based Wi-Fi QoE startup RouteThis. And the road to great home Wi-Fi quality is often a lot less complex than you would think, the company says.
Home Wi-Fi performance and coverage guarantees have been around in Europe and UK for several years – for example with KPN & Vodafone-Ziggo (Netherlands), Telenet (Belgium), and BT (UK) – and in various forms ranging from discounts to sending out more hardware. Now most North American operators offer some form of Wi-Fi guarantee or promise as well. In some cases the ISP actually provides an active means by which quality is measured and subsequently ensured.
But in many cases these are simply ‘marketing guarantees’ for example for triggering the ISP to send out more mesh units or extenders presumably to fix the customer’s broken Wi-Fi problem. “They are promising wall to wall Wi-Fi but instead of actually delivering that they’re simply saying they’ll fix it if it’s broken,” says Jason Moore, CEO and co-founder of home Wi-Fi QoE startup, RouteThis.
“Delivering excellent home Wi-Fi coverage and performance is a huge competitive advantage for ISPs. But when a Wi-Fi ‘guarantee’ becomes mostly marketing, and a promise to a customer that if there are issues they’ll get additional mesh units, customers are bound to be disappointed. Imagine you’re an end consumer who bought wall to wall Wi-Fi from your ISP and days after the install you have dead spots in your home,” says Jason Moore.
The end result – even if the problem is eventually fixed – is a dissatisfied customer. The right approach is to make sure quality Wi-Fi is available from the get go for each individual household. And the tools and methods to do that are already here, Jason Moore says. Such approaches take Wi-Fi ‘guarantees’ out of the realm of the marketing exercise and instead deliver the certified wall-to-wall Wi-Fi subscribers really want.
“It is a lot more assuring to the subscriber that quality Wi-Fi is delivered from day one. Our approach – which is now also the approach of many of our clients – is to certify the initial Wi-Fi equipment installation. This involves optimised placement of the router as well as any extenders within the home, verification via real-time on-premise heat map measurement, and finally documentation. This is home Wi-Fi certification that sets the customer up for a successful WiFi experience from day one,” Jason Moore explains.
And at least one home broadband service provider has already adopted this idea. Instead of issuing guarantees, Canada’s TELUS is in effect offering ‘Wi-Fi-as-a-Service’ for an additional $10 per month (Canadian dollars, equivalent to about US$8 per month). TELUS’ new Wi-Fi service is called ‘Wi-Fi Plus’ and makes sure wall-to-wall Wi-Fi is installed and delivered correctly for each individual household.
The subscriber no longer needs to be concerned about how many pieces of hardware are required or pay for them individually – TELUS will install as many or as few as needed. For more about TELUS’ new approach to quality home Wi-Fi – starting with the WiFi installation process – see our March 2 Special Event available as video-on-demand here.
“We believe the guaranteed Wi-Fi trend will quickly move beyond marketing and into field services and product groups as ISPs gradually work out how to truly guarantee wall to wall Wi-Fi for subscribers from day one. This is similar to what TELUS has done – and this is the sustainable solution leading to real customer loyalty and satisfaction,” Jason Moore says.
RouteThis’ Certify app – released in early March this year – is already being tested by operators across North America and will be rolled out to the rest of the world in June. For more about Certify make sure you sign up here to book a meeting.