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Melita tests new broadband link to Milan

Right: Melita CEO Andrei Torriani says the new customer relationship platform will eliminate much of the complexity involved in calls to the customer care centre. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Right: Melita CEO Andrei Torriani says the new customer relationship platform will eliminate much of the complexity involved in calls to the customer care centre. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Melita is in the final stages of testing a new fibre link that connects Malta to Milan, its latest investment in broadband infrastructure.

There are considerable opportunities in the business market

The project, combined with a planned state-of-the-art customer relationship platform and an enhanced business services offering, will involve a total investment of €10 million over the next five years, Melita chief executive Andrei Torriani told The Times Business.

Melita has teamed up with US-headquartered provider Level 3, one of only six Tier I operators in the world, to access high quality broadband closer to source. Level 3 delivers all global content for Netflix and Apple through its own content delivery network.

Mr Torriani explained Level 3 boasts a world-leading fibre infrastructure which connects major cities and technology points from Milan across the globe. The chief executive promises Melita’s household and business customers will experience a quantum leap in broadband quality.

“We at Melita believe we are helping to fulfil Malta’s Smart Island vision and help the country meet the EU’s digital agenda targets for high speed broadband,” Mr Torriani explained. “Those targets cannot be reached without the right type of international connectivity. That has not been forthcoming to Malta for some time and we decided to make the investment to bring better quality of service and interconnectivity to local customers.”

Malta’s three broadband providers, including Melita, all have links to Sicily, mostly for geographical reasons.

Melita is currently routing traffic through its new link and Mr Torriani said tests are showing significant improvements in quality and marked reductions in data loss. The development will contribute to Melita’s positioning as a broadband provider for businesses like online gaming and trading organisations which are particularly sensitive to data transmission quality, Mr Torriani added. Households, he said, will enjoy better download and upload speeds and quality.

“On average, most households have more than one connection and it is a major challenge to find growth in that segment,” Mr Torriani pointed out. “But there are considerable opportunities in the business market. We are confident we can bring added value by ‘obtaining’ our internet closer to source, from a premier operator, with fewer in-between players.”

In the longer-term, stronger broadband and connectivity will enable Melita to deliver more content over online platforms. Customers’ increasing demand for video, gaming, and peer-to-peer interaction requires higher speeds.

More than a year ago, Melita upgraded its customers to 15 Mbps for a trial period and found that most customers opted to keep those speeds when the trial window closed. More than half of Malta’s broadband customers now use 10 Mbps. Subscribers to Melita’s network on speeds of 10 Mbps account for 76 per cent of its total customer base.

Meanwhile, Melita has turned to another Tier I provider, Amdocs, for the delivery of a technologically advanced customer relationship management solution that will automate a host of customer services.

“It has become a major challenge for any telecommunications company to service customers, particularly as more people with various bundles make enquiries over the phone. Agents have to be constantly trained to handle a never-ending list of products, features and issues,” Mr Torriani said. “It was very important for us to find an end-to-end provider that could handle a complex customer service environment where there are users of converged services. This new platform will eliminate much of the complexity involved in calls to the customer care centre.”

Automated services will see customers gaining instant access to many features and options, including billing queries, technical issue resolution, information on mobile phone functionality and self-help videos. This new technology will support Melita in its bid to enhance the standardisation of the customer experience so that subscribers obtain information in a systematic way with reduced waiting times.

Mr Torriani was keen to point out that the implementation of the new CRM platform would not involve redundancies. Rather, it would give the company an opportunity to offer new challenges across the business to team members under a programme for personal development and growth. It was also a way for Melita to retain shared competencies.

Externally, next week, Melita will roll out several bundles aimed at business customers, featuring enhanced broadband offerings and services, many of which leverage the capabilities of the new fibre link.

“Melita has been a driver of change in the market not only for businesses and customers, but also for the telecommunciations landscape in Malta. We are happy with the results we are getting but we are not going to rest on our laurels. We are going to continue to invest in broadband because we see this as an opportunity for growth for Malta,” Mr Torriani said.

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