Today we have made changes to our Fusion service in order to further simplify the product, to improve service delivery, and to lower costs.
Previously Fusion was a bit confusing – it’s one product, but was offered four different ways: residential single-line, residential dual-line, business single-line and business dual-line. This meant four different price points, and business users basically paid more for less: a $10 to $20 higher monthly fee, plus a penny a minute for all their calls. (More on this below!)
We have also found that residential dual-line service was rarely purchased, with only one out of twenty customers selecting this product. When it was, there were more delivery challenges due to the household wiring, and more cancellations due to delivered speed concerns.
We often found that these residential customers didn’t actually want the two phone lines, and instead were hoping for more speed, generally seeking 20-40Mbps. While bonded Fusion is double the speed of a single line, it was sometimes being purchased by folks located at longer much longer distances who were desperate for more performance. For a speed-hungry consumer on a very long loop, they frankly might be better served by a cable broadband service at those locations.
On the other hand, even at longer lengths and slower speeds, the single-line service is a compelling value: unlimited and uncapped broadband at the maximum speed that we can deliver plus home phone with unlimited usage for $39.95. It’s a very nice deal. Two lines for seventy dollars plus the applicable voice taxes just isn’t a very good fit, and it shows in the signup and churn numbers.
We have also been studying resource usage by our business customers, and we’ve found that from the perspective of voice usage, they actually use less than the average home user! This was a surprise to us, and it created an opportunity: simply eliminate the $0.01 charge that our business customers have been paying for calling. So, that’s in effect from today – Fusion phone service is now very simple: free calling, regardless of location type.
Based upon all of these findings, today we have reduced the Fusion service to two very simple products:
- For Residential customers:
- Unlimited broadband and home phone for $39.95
- For Business customers:
- Two phone lines plus double speed broadband for $89.95
Of course both of these products include all of our free features like FaxLine electronic fax, a free domain name with Personal Web Hosting, 15 email accounts, Free International calling, Voicemail and voice features like Caller ID.
For currently users of the two products we have eliminated (residential two-line service, and business one-line service) we will continue to provide the service to these customers at the current price points, so nothing changes for these established customers. (One bonus: for the business customers, they will no longer be billed for their voice usage!) For a new home customer who really wants the two line service, we will deliver the faster business service to a home location.
We are also changing the way that we provide equipment. We found that when customers re-use a modem from another provider, they often spend a lot of time get it set up, and it is always in question if there is trouble with the circuit. Is the problem the modem, or the line? If it’s the modem, who is responsible, and how much time does the customer have to spend with us to get that worked out? With an older ADSL1 modem that lacks ADSL2+ support, the customer’s speed will be limited to 8Mbps, potentially much slower than it would be with a modern unit. Also, does that old modem have a full set of the necessary filters, for all the regular telephone devices in the home?
So, equipment is now provided free for every new customer. The basic kit for residential customers includes everything that’s required, including new phone line filters, a splitter, Ethernet and phone cables and the modem itself. This should make getting set up with Fusion easier than ever, and if there is trouble – our staff know the product well, if there is trouble, we can easily swap or replace it if the modem is at fault. Of course, even things that are free there is a catch: sales tax, and shipping and handling. However, we know that the provided equipment and setup kit will make setup and support much easier for our new customers.
For those who want a device with Wi-Fi, an advanced kit is also available. It includes a modem with four-port Ethernet router and Wi-Fi access point, now offered at a discounted price of $19.95.
For our business customers, we now provide a ZyXel dual-line bonding ADSL2+ modem which has four Ethernet ports and built-in Wi-Fi. It’s a great small office solution, delivering dual-line Fusion speed and convenient Wi-Fi access.
Finally, in an effort to keep monthly recurring costs as low as possible, we are now charging a line activation fee of $35 for the residential service, or $85 for the two-line business service. This keeps most of the one-time costs of circuit ordering and provisioning in a one-time payment, so we don’t have to amortize these one-time expenses into the monthly rate that customers pay forever.
Over the last couple years, we have made many changes to improve our Fusion service, and I’m excited to be continuing the product evolution. Our team is working hard to make the product easier, faster and more useful for you, at the best possible price point.