West Carolina Tel selects Calix to upgrade service for customers

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Calix, Inc. has announced that West Carolina Tel has extended free 60 day upgrades to Gigabit service for its growing number of telecommuters.

The response from this tailored program has been almost three times what was originally anticipated and has led to follow-up programs to help its communities through the current COVID-19 health crisis.

In addition to never having cap limits on broadband services, once local schools were closed, WCTEL mobilized to set up 23 free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout its footprint to ensure that those students do not get left behind.

“Much like the rest of the world, members of our community are facing an unprecedented level of uncertainty in our daily lives, so it is vital that we remain connected,” said Blake Stone, city manager for Abbeville, South Carolina. “We appreciate the steps WCTEL has taken to ensure its members can safely work from home and that our students all have the Internet access necessary to continue their studies. We could not have anticipated the current global crisis, but thanks to WCTEL, our community is ensuring neither our professionals nor our students fall behind.”

As WCTEL looked to better understand the needs of its community, critical EDGE Insights delivered by Calix Marketing Cloud (CMC) revealed a growing number of the rural cooperative’s members were working from home. Consequently, they had different needs than the average WCTEL member and relied more on symmetrical high-bandwidth applications like videoconferencing via virtual private networks (VPNs). WCTEL has engaged the EDGE Enablement program, specifically Customer Success Services, to parse their member data and develop usage profiles for those that had the highest need for upgrades. The combination of these deep insights, collaboration with marketing partner Pivot Group for program development, and adherence to best practices has enabled them to efficiently reach those members working from home.

“Calix Marketing Cloud has helped us gain a deeper understanding of the needs of our members and countered any preconceived notions we had about their typical broadband usage,” said Shannon Sears, director of commercial operations for West Carolina Tel. “The experience was eye opening, as we learned that telecommuting is more prevalent among our members than we previously thought. When this increase in telecommuting was combined with our schools closing, it became clear that we needed to ensure our members could stay connected through the resulting spike in broadband demand. The data in CMC, combined with the partnership with Customer Success Services, allowed us to tailor our service programs with confidence.”

Formed in 1952, WCTEL has evolved into a full-service communications service provider (CSP), delivering broadband and voice services to communities in western South Carolina and northern Georgia. The rural cooperative’s loyal member base has been a staple since its founding, but as broadband applications advanced, WCTEL’s service tiers remained the same. When planning to upgrade its offerings and evaluating which members would benefit most, the WCTEL team sought better visibility into usage patterns from Calix Marketing Cloud.

“In the face of this global pandemic, the way WCTEL has stepped up to lead the communities it serves is inspiring,” said Matt Collins, chief marketing officer for Calix. “As more broadband subscribers around the country are forced into working and learning from home, we have seen service providers take charge to ensure their communities remain connected. WCTEL has taken ownership of the subscriber experience and optimized it for its members—specifically those telecommuting and distance learning. Time and time again, we have seen customers deliver immense value to their communities when they build outreach campaigns on EDGE Insights to tailor them to their members’ needs.”