Buckeye Broadband has partnered with award-winning revenue management software provider Alepo to introduce FreeNet, an innovative new service in Toledo, giving customers free ad-sponsored internet access.
FreeNet is a key initiative for Buckeye’s mission to close the digital divide in Ohio, broadening access to reliable internet for key underserved customer segments. As part of the project, the leading broadband service provider has also launched free and paid public WiFi in its stores, with plans to extend the service to public places in Ohio.
FreeNet is northwest Ohio’s first free ad-sponsored internet service. It benefits students and customers working from home during the pandemic as well as Buckeye Broadband’s customers who may not pay their bills on time. And while it has enabled the operator to continue generating revenue through advertisements while providing internet connectivity to those who need it, it has also encouraged many customers to upgrade for ad-free browsing.
In addition to catering to existing subscribers who may not pay their bills on time continue accessing the internet, new customers can also sign up for the essential service. Users are given home internet free of charge in exchange for watching a video or completing a survey every 30 minutes. Customers gain uninterrupted access as soon as they upgrade or pay their bills.
Buckeye Broadband’s network redirects customers to the Alepo captive portal, which displays personalized offers and surveys based on the customer’s location. These sponsored journeys are managed and monetized using Alepo’s WiFi Service Management Platform (SMP), a part of its Carrier WiFi solution.
The same captive portal also enables customers visiting Buckeye Broadband stores to choose from a range of speed- and time-based free (3 Mbps) and paid (4 Mbps) WiFi journeys. The service serves as a demo for customers and is expected to increase the subscriber base.
In addition to survey responses, the WiFi SMP enables Buckeye Broadband to capture user data to generate valuable BI reports that include the number of active users, viewer count for each video, their device and browser details, login time, and more.
“This project helps us further our mission to bridge the digital divide. Plus, we’re sensitive to the fact that our customers might not always be able to clear their bills on time and we wanted to put in place a mechanism that lets them continue accessing the internet. We’re excited to have partnered with Alepo to address this concern as part of our innovative FreeNet service, which also empowers us with advanced monetization capabilities through advertisements and surveys. We are pleased with the response to the time- and speed-based public WiFi access we’ve enabled at our stores,” said Geoff Shook, President and General Manager, Buckeye Broadband.
“We are happy to collaborate with Alepo given their vast experience in helping service providers around the world. Alepo has been a flexible partner that understands our market dynamics and we’re confident that with their solution, we’ll swiftly generate high ROI,” added Shook.
Derrick Gross, President, Alepo, said, “I was really thrilled when Buckeye Broadband came to us with this innovative FreeNet idea and wanted to be a part of their unique project. Sponsored data benefits all involved parties: customers, sponsors, and, of course, the service provider. Customer loyalty and innovative marketing is increasingly a challenge for internet service providers, and our WiFi SMP overcomes this challenge by offering several flexible monetization opportunities. We are proud to support Buckeye Broadband’s launch and vision to increase broadband access to their customers, which is true to the mission of Alepo.”
The broadband provider is now working on plans to offer free public WiFi through hotspots in 16 metro parks and two stadiums (one hockey and one baseball) and hopes to extend the service to other ISPs. Alepo’s WiFi SMP supports the future launch of innovative plans based on demographics, devices, locations, and time.
The project adds to Alepo’s expanding global portfolio, which includes several Carrier WiFi, AAA, virtualized AAA, digital BSS, and other deployments for leading fixed and mobile service providers around the world.