Telecommunications Audit and Technology Assessment
Customer / Company: Cullman Electric Cooperative
How one Rural Electric Cooperative was able to:
- 1. Significantly upgrade their telecommunications infrastructure.
- 2. Implement a solid disaster recovery solution (voice and data).
- 3. Reduce their overall telecommunications expenses by 21%.
Vendor: Tri-Solve, LLC.
Date: October 2014
As an Electric Cooperative, C.E.C. provides electricity to over 41,000 customers throughout North Central Alabama. With 13 locations, including 11 substations and 2 customer service / operations centers, having uninterrupted availability of both their voice and data network is mission critical. The Cooperative had identified two issues that could potentially impact their 24X7 availability. Additionally, they were looking for ways to reduce their telecom costs. Tri-Solve, an independent third party telecom consulting firm, was retained to conduct an audit and assessment of their telecommunications services.
- 1. Data Connectivity to Substations
The 11 unmanned substation locations contain data gathering equipment for monitoring and maintaining their Electricity grid. Connectivity to the substations is critical to monitor usage levels, collect billing data, and trouble shoot outages. With only a single VPN internet connection, (mixture of DSL and T-1) to each substation, in the event that the connectivity fails, Cullman Electric must dispatch a technician to reestablish connectivity with a “Mifi data card” via the wireless (cellular) network. Recognizing that this situation is less than ideal, due to the length of time required in getting the tech onsite, (possibly overnight), the significant expense of the measured “mifi” data usage service, and the cost of dispatching the technician once again to remove the “mifi” after reestablishment of the primary connection is achieved, CEC needed a more efficient, less costly solution.
- 2. Telephone Service at the customer service and operations centers
Telephone service is critical to the Electric Cooperative for customers to make general inquires, order services, pay their bill and report power outages and to dispatch repair technicians. The main location is supported with 3 voice T1’s (PRI’s) for incoming and outgoing calls and a 50 Mbps Metro E connection between the primary location and their secondary location. The 50 Mbps connection is used for the secondary site to gain access to the 3 PRI’s and the only corporate wide internet connection, which is a 10Mbps Ethernet circuit. The single internet connection is a single point of failure that could cause significant loss of time and money if it were out of service. The secondary site has no access to phone service or internet if the 50Mbps connection is lost.
Tri-Solve was charged with identifying cost reduction opportunities and possible technology improvements. In the initial meeting, the customer expressed their concerns regarding Disaster recovery, in conjunction with their need to reduce costs. Tri-Solve was able to work with the customer’s existing telecom vendor to negotiate a solution that would meet and exceed all of the customers’ goals, which was significant because the customer did not want to go through the process of changing service providers.
Through the audit process, Tri-Solve identified several cost reduction opportunities including:
- •Three (3) data circuits that the customer was being billed for, but had not been in use in over ten years
- •Billing of more than a dozen features/phone lines no longer in use
- •A billing error on the 50M circuit
- •Billing of wireless devices not in use
- •A revised wireless service plan with the existing provider which resulted in a 33% cost reduction
- •Potential credits and refunds for the billing errors in excess of $100,000
Through the technology assessment process, Tri-Solve was able to develop a solution that addressed all of the issues and concerns the customer had relative to their disaster recovery needs. The Tri-Solve solution included:
- •A MPLS (Private & meshed) network with managed routers to replace the connectivity to the substations, including an automatic wireless fail-over solution at each site.
- •An upgrade to the existing 10Mbps internet connection to 20Mbps.
- •Upgrading the 50Mbps connection between the primary and secondary site to a 100Mbps circuit.
- •Installing a 1.5Mbps Internet connection at the secondary site with provisioning of 23 SIP trunks to be used in the incidence of loss of primary internet and/or voice connections
- •Negotiation with the current telecom provider to waive the early termination penalty of the contracts on the existing services, saving the customer thousands of dollars.
- •After all of the upgrades are in place, going forward the customer will realize an annual savings of over $38,000.00, over what they were paying before Tri-Solve was engaged.
By engaging Tri-Solves’ expertise, CEC was able to upgrade their network, for significantly less cost than before. With a cost effective and reliable, solid disaster recovery solution in place, the customer now has upgraded, state of the art technology for their voice and data needs, which will save the customer time and money, allowing them to provide the highest level of service to their customers.
- •A Single 10M Internet Connection Company Wide
- •50M Connectivity between primary and secondary site
- •(Manual) no automatic backup plan in place for lost connectivity to substations
- •Only a couple of voice lines at secondary site to provide back up if primary connectivity is lost
- •No Internet backup in place for secondary site if connection to primary site is lost
- •ORIGINAL MONTHLY CHARGES $15,206.50
- •20M Internet connection company wide
- •100M connectivity between primary and secondary site
- •100% automatic wireless backup when primary connection to substations is lost
- •23 voice lines (VOIP) in place at secondary site in case primary site location is out of service
- •T-1 Internet connection in place to provide temporary internet service to secondary site if connection to primary site is lost
- •MONTHLY CHARGES $11,968.50
- •MONTHLY SAVINGS $3,238.44
- •ANNUAL SAVINGS $38,861.28
Tri-Solve is a national telecommunications consulting and cost containment firm. Founded in 2003 by industry experts, Tri-Solve recovers and saves its clients millions of dollars each year through a contingency- based telecom audit and provides technology assessments to clients who are seeking a technology refresh or has disaster recovery and technology concerns. Tri-Solve’s strategic disaster recovery experts help customers to design and implement disaster recovery solutions for their telecommunications and information technology needs.
There are no up-front fees or charges. Tri-Solve earns customer’s business by finding savings. Tri-Solve is paid out of the savings and refunds that are taken back from the phone companies. There truly is NO cost to the customer. The payment comes out of “found” money.
Tri-Solve’s contingency-based telecom audit consists of identifying and recovering overcharges while analyzing existing contracts to dramatically impact the bottom line. This includes local, long distance, data services, Internet, VoIP, 800 services (toll free), cellular, conferencing, and telephone and equipment maintenance. Their experts review the bills and produce savings from the current carriers. Customers do not have to change service providers to realize significant savings. The savings Tri-Solve has been able to produce for their client’s averages around 20% of the monthly billing.
With an 89% error rate in telecommunications billing for businesses with 10 or more lines, finding unnecessary or erroneous charges is almost guaranteed.
For more information about Tri-Solve services contact us at 205-664-7978 or firstname.lastname@example.org
3590-B HWY 31 South, suite 188, Pelham, AL 35124