Windstream is making it easier to order wholesale broadband

Update 10/5/2023 12:30 pm ET: Windstream asked Fierce to clarify that Kinetic Wholesale is separate from Windstream Wholesale, though both are owned by the company.

Bye-bye clunky legacy system, hello shiny new cloud-native ordering portal.

Kinetic Wholesale, a division of Windstream, ditched its aging order platform this week in favor of a fresh solution it built in partnership with Connectbase and Neustar. Company executives told Fierce Telecom the system will dramatically simplify the wholesale broadband ordering and product management process for both customers and employees alike.

Jim Anderson, director of product and pricing at Kinetic Wholesale, said the company began building the system way back at the start of 2022 to replace a legacy ordering platform that had become outdated and hard to use. Not only did it require a lot of manual processing, but it also offered customers less product detail than the new system and was hard for Kinetic Wholesale’s product team to update.

“With any aging platform, the cost to enhance and support it becomes exponentially higher,” Justin Caylor, Windstream’s director of IT product development, said. “So, it was a pretty easy decision to move to a new platform.” The platform, by the way, was built in the cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, he said.

The company’s goal was to put together a new solution that included best-of-breed components. That’s where Connectbase’s configure-price-quote (CPQ) technology came in, as well as Neustar’s order clearinghouse service. The latter basically takes customer quotes and turns them into actionable orders for Kinetic Wholesale’s back-office system.

Anderson said the new portal will particularly benefit clients who use it to order wholesale broadband.

“One of the things that makes broadband different from other standard services…is there’s no telecom standard for it. So, in the cases where we sell someone ethernet, the experience for processing the order has a standard set of rules. It looks like X, it’s processed like Y. Broadband is different,” Anderson explained. “Its origins come from retail side of the business and there’s a lot of nuance. It’s hard to take a product like broadband and change from retail experience to wholesale.”

That’s one of the big problems the new portal will solve, thanks in large part to the aforementioned Neustar clearinghouse technology. Connectbase is also providing GIS location technology to help give customers more visibility into what Kinetic Wholesale products are offered where and how much they cost.

Anderson noted that rather than having to submit all their service delivery information during the quote stage, customers will be able to see pricing up front. This not only enables more transparency but will also keep customers more engaged throughout the order completion process. The portal also allows customers to see an overview of what services they already have, pull invoices and submit trouble tickets, if necessary.

While order updates will be displayed in the portal, Caylor said Kinetic Wholesale will be able to send order processing updates via text or push notification to clients as well.

On Windstream’s side, the system will also streamline the internal process for rolling out updates to products and pricing. This, Caylor said, will boost the operator’s speed to market with new offerings, helping get them in front of customers faster.

Why does this all matter? Well, Kinetic Wholesale is squaring off with other wholesale providers, all of whom are looking to make life easier for customers. Lumen Technologies, for instance, recently updated its customer portal to allow users to see its available locations and self-design their desired services. Meanwhile, Zayo launched a new Waves on Demand service, slashing the provisioning time from 45 days to just hours.