The last 5 months have seen a rapidly changing global landscape that has forced us to adapt to unforeseen challenges, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have given our best efforts to remain responsive to these challenges so that we continue to offer great service to our clients.
Our team have gone above and beyond to tackle every challenge that we have faced, and they have done so successfully. As a result, we have a wealth of exciting advancements to share with you!
Pre Covid-19, we had planned to install a licensed backhaul link between one of our Layer 2 Dark Fibre backhauls and one of our primary towers to ensure that we have over 1 Gb backhaul running into our remote tower mesh. However, with the onset of the pandemic, our plans were delayed due to product not being shipped in time. Despite the delay, we completed the installation timeously. Furthermore, one of our inverters and batteries were damaged as a result of Eskom cable theft. In as little as 6 hours, on Good Friday, we managed to convert that tower into a solar supplied tower – providing both an immediate and a long-term solution!
These challenges, along with many others presented by the pandemic have also provided opportunities for us to identify gaps in our disaster planning with our suppliers and thereby improve our systems and stack/core. As a result, we are more resilient than ever before!
We are always upgrading our infrastructure in order to continually improve our services. As such, we have implemented brand-new core infrastructure with a complete redundant system. With this new core, we have also moved our infrastructure to a new data center within Teraco CPT – creating more capacity for improved service offering.
Part of the changing business landscape has meant an increased demand for internet, particularly from our towers servicing the Cape Winelands area. To accommodate this demand, we have installed a licensed backhaul to supply the tower and the needed bandwidth for our clients – addressing the new demand and creating room for future growth!
With the need for uninterrupted internet now more crucial than ever, we had to respond to the issues being caused by regular cable theft. As such, we identified towers that were potential targets within the network and upgraded them to solar power. This will avoid power supply disruptions and keep our clients online 24/7.
We also saw that we would need to increase everyone’s FUP cap as most people are working from home as well as having school children requiring bandwidth, so we increased the FUP settings on our system as well as resetting the very few users still being affected by the settings every Friday. We will not be reducing this in August as most other ISP’s seem to be considering going forward. We have decided that our client base is stable enough to remove the FUP limits and manage illegal torrenting as we have been up to now.. While our voice platform did not require an emergency upgrade, we acted with the future in mind and proceeded to affect significant, well-tested changes to our voice platform as well. These changes mean that we can now offer our customers an extended array of options on our voice platform.
Specifically, these upgrades have included launching Teams Direct routing on our client portal. Teams Direct Routing is the ability to make and receive phone calls from the Microsoft Teams application. This can be done from either your mobile device or from a laptop. As new services are released in Beta format, we research, test, and implement them in a closed environment to ensure stability before releasing them on our client portal. As soon as Teams Direct routing launched, we started with the testing phase. Hours and weeks later, we had a stable platform ready for Teams Direct routing. As a result, we can now offer our clients a reliable and stable service going forward.
This move has broken open a wealth of new options for hosting services. So, supported by the fact that we are a Microsoft Partner, we have decided to move all our voice and Teams Direct routing to Azure, ensuring long-term stability for all.
Communicating issues and system improvements to our clients is vitally important to us. That is why we have been on the hunt for a system that will inform clients of system issues as close to real-time as possible. Such a system would eliminate the need for a client to have to phone to find out what is happening when there is an issue. Finding a solution was no simple task as most of the options we could generate required an active and working internet connection.
So, after testing several ideas, we settled on implementing an SMS alert that will notify our clients immediately, of any system interruptions. If the system detects an outage of any kind, the automated SMS fires off to our senior engineering team, as well as every client connected to that device. Thereafter, we e-mail our clients a detailed explanation of what occurred and how we are resolving it.
Along with the automated SMS system, River Broadband has also set up a direct WhatsApp line that can be used by all clients to easily log issues and make inquiries.
Finally, in an effort to enhance our client’s user experience, we have created our proudest addition to the River Broadband client offering – the portal login. With this system, clients can log in to their own personal portal to perform a wide range of functions from checking their link status, to settling an account. We believe this offering will add great value to our client family!
Using any of the above communication streams, our clients can log their own support tickets which are routed to the correct department. Thereafter, all communication logs are recorded for reference and client review. Ticket follow-ups are also easier as the client can access these tickets directly from the portal.
With these new additions, our client communication offering has grown vastly. Thanks to the valuable client feedback we have received, we will continue to grow and bring you the best customer experience there is!