Light Reading reported a few days ago that they have a ‘deepthroat’ insider at Verizon feeding them info about FiOS. One of the more interesting tidbits this insider offered is that install times by union techs on the east coast take 9 hours on average. While Verizon’s western properties (old GTE footprint), which utilize non union workers only take 4 hours. Putting aside the argument of union vs. nonunion for a second, a nine hour installation time has to give Verizon concern. The obvious operational costs associated with such an install don’t bode well for their bottom line. One has to ask about the competitive implications as well. Cable MSOs have somewhat of an advantage here. There inside wiring is already there and the upgrade to a triple play subscriber, while there are exceptions, is pretty seamless. I don’t have typical MSO metrics (anyone out there care to share?), but I have to assume the average is no where near nine hours.
Truck rolls have always been a huge cost center. Service providers aim to reduce them whenever possible. There is a contrarian view held by some. I’ve talked with service providers (usually smaller ones) who view a truck roll as an opportunity to interface with customers and build/enhance relationships. In this competitive world, one can’t argue that point. Finding the right balance between enhancing customer relationships and reducing operational costs is a challenge all competitive service providers are wrestling with.
Also, check out this spirited debate on BroadbandReports.com about the union/nonunion angle to this story.