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COVID-19 is Promoting Network Automation, Charter Says

network automation

Ever since the COVID-19 Pandemic has hit the world, it has changed the way households and businesses (small to large enterprises) look at the Internet service. More and more businesses are going remote and some are even thinking about revamping their network infrastructure. America’s favorite cable TV and Internet service provider, Charter Spectrum, believes the network-as-a-service model is going to be a new rage.

Corporate customers have started taking more interest in ISP capabilities. There are good chances they will adopt the network-as-a-service and SD-WAN. Charter has seen a spike in the demand for applications and Spectrum Internet services supporting remote work. The trend is likely to outlast the post-pandemic.

Rising Demand from Corporate & Residential Customers

The broadband business received a jolt in March 2020 as a result of the 60-day free Internet pledge for homeowners and students during the early days of the coronavirus crisis. This was a no catch-offer and there were no hidden costs. Charter reported generating 119,000 new Internet accounts in March which include students and educators. Even post-60-day offer, the demand for residential broadband skyrocketed. Many customers are adopting the self-installation service during the pandemic.

The Vice President for Enterprise Data Products, Satya Parimi said, “I believe there will be a change in what businesses purchase and what they find important.” The increase in software clients enabling people to work from home has surged. Their soft voice services and virtual private network solutions were most in-demand among business customers.

Some enterprises have started buying Internet service for their telecommuting employees as well. The employer just has to tell which home to provide connection and Spectrum bills with the employers for all such connections. In order to facilitate Work From Home, Charter is likely to package connection solutions with applications in the future. These bundles will be designed for mid to large enterprises.

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Sales Spike in March 2020 during COVID-19

In certain locations Spectrum has increased its bandwidth by 10 times. It has also started to expand fiber optic coverage in new locations to meet the increasing bandwidth demands. Since March, the ISP has hired 4500 new employees.

The provider has been getting calls from educational institutions, emergency services, hospitals, and first responders. The second week of March was a huge influx for the company. Customers were and are demanding more bandwidth, new services, and newlines. The provider has automated parts of its provisions to respond to the customer needs quicker within 24 hours. This is a great move!

Network automation will help fulfil capacity upgrades even faster in the future. The pandemic stressed the value of having an automated network-as-a-service model and that’s what the provider is working on. Parimi says if their network was operated on the network-as-a-service model, this would have eliminated the need to call customer service for additional network capacity. The network itself should have sensed the need and flexed automatically. The provider isn’t fully there yet, they are working on building and implementing such a robust model.

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SD-WAN is the Future

Parimi also revealed that the provider of the famous Spectrum Double Play plan is running their automated network-as-a-service in a lab. But it’s within the company. Many people are advocating for it. COVID-19 has proven how valuable technology is.

Even corporate customers have started to realize their value. Many organizations are considering to revamp their network architecture, capacity, as well as resiliency. All these can be enhanced by the automated network-as-a-service. The company is also recognizing the value of SD-WAN since more and more are people operating on the WFH model.

The Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN architecture that lets enterprises use a combination of transport services (LTE, broadband Internet as well as MBLS) to securely connect the users to a variety of apps. Fortunately, the SD-WAN market has not been affected by the economic slowdown. Even if it is, the impact will be slower than that of other markets.

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Charter has stepped forward to meet the Internet demands of all its users. So far, the provider is doing its best in servicing customers. Hopefully, the provider won’t disappoint its subscribers once the automated network-as-a-service model is fully implemented.

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