JACKSON — Formerly known as Entergy Hyperion Communications in Mississippi, Adelphia Business Solutions is not something that simply grew up overnight.
The 50-year-old company moved into the telecom business in 1991 under the name Hyperion Communications. A competitive access provider, Hyperion got into the CLEC (competitive local exchange company) business in 1996 with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was intended to “deregulate” the telephone industry and promote competition.
At that time in Mississippi, as well as in other states throughout the nation, Adelphia started constructing a fiber optic telecommunications network and, in some metropolitan areas, formed partnerships with other companies that had the ability to install or had installed fiber optic cable. Entergy formed a partnership with Adelphia in Mississippi.
In 1997, the company came to Jackson, where there was nearly 100 miles of fiber. Then, in June 1999, Entergy Hyperion bought Entergy’s partnership out and became simply Hyperion. A few months later, the name of the company was changed to Adelphia in order to coincide with its parent company, Adelphia Cable.
“I guess the bottom line is that we have been in business for the long term,” said Sandy Rhodes, general manager of Adelphia Business Solutions in Mississippi. “This is not a CLEC that just grew up overnight.”
But just what does set Adelphia apart from other communications companies?
As Rhodes stated, every communications company seems to have a similar sales pitch.
“You have all these companies come into town and everybody’s got a better network, everybody’s got a better product, everybody’s got a better price.”
But, said Rhodes, “there are a number of things that are really different about us.”
One thing that really sets Adelphia apart from other companies is that they are a facilities-based company. And along with that, Adelphia has a team of operations people that, as Rhodes put it, are here “at the drop of a hat — they’re right on the spot.”
With the fiber optic cable that Adelphia uses throughout the city, state and country, they also have SONET (synchronous optical network technology), so that if there’s a break anywhere in the ring of fiber in the city, service continues regardless. Customers never experience an outage.
“The alarms go off, we’re all over it, but our customers never see an interruption of service,” Rhodes said.
Another thing that differentiates Adelphia from their competition is that they have local customer care.
“We have people who are right here in this building that our customers know by name and they’re not located somewhere off in Oklahoma or Pennsylvania; they’re right here in Jackson. We’re very proud of that.”
Adelphia seems to have really carved out a niche for their customer base in terms of businesses, providing personalized customer service in the way of billing support, trouble reporting that may occur as well as consultative approach with their customers.
And those are the primary things that really set Adelphia apart from other communications businesses.
In the future, Adelphia is looking forward to becoming a Tier 1 Internet provider for Jackson. That means that they will be able to communicate directly with all other networks on the Internet. This is an important step for Adelphia because the time it takes information to reach its destination will be dramatically reduced.
With Tier 2, on the other hand, if one link goes down, the connection speed goes down as well.
“Before you know it, you can be hopping around the network 14 or 15 times before you actually get on the Internet,” Rhodes said.
With Tier 1, if one path becomes congested with heavy Internet traffic, customers are flowed in another direction.
“This is extremely important to businesses who are not only uploading large amounts of data but also downloading large amounts of data,” Rhodes said.
Currently, Adelphia uses a ring of fiber optic cable throughout Jackson to reach its clients, but fixed wireless technologies are being tested in Vermont and in New York. Although the technology will not be available in Jackson at any time soon, at some point in the future, it will be rolled out.
A lot has changed since Adelphia first stepped into the Jackson marketplace. In just two short years, they have already upgraded their network and added an ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) switch. They also now have 7,000 business lines.
As a company, Adelphia just passed the half-million mark on lines.
“Wall Street liked that,” said Tanya Brieger, sales manager.
But probably the strongest selling point for the company remains with their sales team, customer service, operation and area of expertise.
“Our fiber technology is probably the number one thing we have going for us because we have more fiber than any other CLEC in this area,” Brieger said.
But the idea many people find refreshing is that the company is family-owned. “You just feel that culture throughout the company that it’s a family-owned company,” Brieger said.
“That means a lot to the business customers here in Jackson because a lot of the business customers are family-owned businesses.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1042.