OUTAGE Report December 2018

December 14, 2018 15:32

Today, internet is no longer a benefit, it is an essential tool. 

None of us like service outages, least of all MINET.

MINET prides itself in providing high quality, high speed service to its Monmouth and Independence subscribers, who are also its owners.

But sometimes thing do happen, such as storm damage or contractor error.

We are happy to note that outages affecting wide areas of MINET subscribers are quantitatively very rare.  MINET has been a strong and resilient system for many years.

At your home or place of business your electronic equipment needs regular replacement.  A computer older than 5 years is considered outdated and one 10 years or more old is a certified relic.

At MINET some parts of the system are over 10 years old.  And while those parts are not relics, since MINET systems are serviced and tested regularly, it is nonetheless difficult for older equipment to keep pace with technology. 

For over 5 years the MINET Team and the Board of Directors had been discussing their concerns about the long-term integrity of MINET systems, which operated on early generation BPON technology. 

As technology progressed and MINET’s internet speeds increased dramatically, upgrade to cutting edge XGPON was clearly necessary. 

You may remember when MINET was new its first speed offering was 2Mbps, or 2 megabits per second.  Today, MINET delivers multiple GIG services.  Speed increases from the early days have exceeded 500%. 

Let’s return to the board’s concerns about system integrity.

The MINET Team began, along with the Board of Directors, making concrete plans to upgrade MINET’s systems. 

First, steps were taken to set the stage:

Stabilize MINET as a company:  Build the customer base to the fullest extent; Control costs; Increase both net operating income and contribution to debt service payments.

Remind the communities of how good it is having a gig provider, and a positive economic asset; share with neighboring communities about how they could take advantage of MINET.

Develop new sources of revenue:  Dialog with senators, representatives, and appropriations committees from state to national levels; Establish the MINET Financial Advisory Committee, populated by citizens, to assist in the quest; Realize the first result:  expansion of MINET into Dallas through Willamette Valley Fiber, with no financial investment by Dallas or MINET’s owner-cities, resulting in additional revenue for MINET.

Equip MINET for the future:  Verify requisite upgrades and formulate a business plan to address those needs; Collaboration between the Management Team and the Board of Directors to plot the right directions and the right budget for MINET; Produce a 5-year strategic plan, endorsed by all stakeholders, to guide MINET into the future.

The work is done, the budget is in place, the plan is in operation, the equipment is in-house or on order, and conversion of individual houses and businesses to XGPON technology is underway.

But for a few days in early December MINET was caught by circumstance. 

A nearly doubled customer base over five years put a strain on the aging system.  The Board of Directors had authorized a plan for upgrades, but it proved to be less aggressive than needed.  A significant portion of the BPON equipment failed.

MINET’s reaction?  Make every possible contact with every affected customer.  A majority of the staff spent hours and extra hours communicating via phone and in person with every customer they could.  Subscribers were kept informed about the progress of managing the outage.  The framework of business hours fell away as work at MINET kept going.  One hundred percent of the MINET staff had a role in mitigating the outage.

After the fact and looking forward:  MINET and its Board of Directors will be reaching for ways to speed up the conversion to XGPON to insure system integrity. 

The expansion into Dallas continues:  Willamette Valley Fiber is being received with great excitement and anticipation of value by that community.

Our customers’ patience and support and well wishes are appreciated by the entire MINET staff. 

 

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