By Richard Nesin, president, HomePNA
After blogging and evangelizing about telcos becoming the home owner’s PC help desk, it was nice to see a telco saying the same thing - and that thing reported in the Wall Street Journal (or the WSJ if you're really cool). Read on .... “More telecoms are offering tech-support services that extend beyond the phone line to the PC or TV. People want the same level of IT support they get in the workplace,” said Dan Alcazar, Embarq's consumer-marketing officer. "When you're at home, you don't have access to these kinds of things," he said. "It became apparent that there was a business opportunity there."
The July 31 issue of the WSJ article "Computer Glitch? Consider Calling the Phone Company” puts some meat on the bones by comparing the costs of services from AT&T, Verizon, Embarq, CenturyTel, Windstream, and Frontier Communications to Best Buy’s Geek Squad (hint, they’re cheaper). Although most telcos only offer support to broadband customers, some, such as Frontier, offer it to anyone. As someone that has personally experienced the thrill of being lobed back and forth like a birdie in a badminton game between Dell’s and Microsoft’s customer “support” desks, I say woo-hoo.
Of course the cost for providing this support will need to be driven down. According to the WSJ, Best Buy charges $300 for a house call. The telcos … a half to a third of that. Knowing as we do how much telcos hate house calls (a.k.a. truck rolls), you can guess where this is going. We expect to see even more emphasis on remote diagnostics and management and an increased drive in the Broadband Forum (formerly the DSL Forum) to complete the work of adding home network remote diagnostics to their Broadband Home suite of recommendations. We believe HomePNA has best-in-class capabilities and that this development is a win-win for industry and consumers alike.