Executive Insights With Charlie Greenberg, CEO/President, Btel Fiber

Charlie Greenberg, Btel Fiber

By Sharon Vollman

Topic: COVID-19 Impact

ISE magazine: How is Btel impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Greenberg: COVID–19 became a reality for us at Btel at the beginning of March 2020. I remember processing the news and thinking Is this really happening? We started our process by blowing the dust off our pandemic plan and thinking we are covered. Wow, did things escalate quickly! Infections started spiking on the east and west coast, and then spread into Houston, our closest major metropolitan area (Btel is about 50 miles south). We knew that it was only a matter of time before we started seeing positive cases in and around Brazoria, so we started implementing precautions to help protect both our employees and customers.

Initially we closed the front office to walk-in traffic, started dispatching our outside plant technicians from home, and allowed employees who could work from home to do so. Additionally, the departments that were required to work from the office were divided in half and worked in separate buildings without physical interaction. As our employees were adjusting to their new work environments, businesses everywhere were sending their staff home to work, and schools were closing their doors with the expectation that students would learn from home.

This created an enormous demand for Broadband usage which increased 60% across our network. The significant increase in usage and the critical need for high-speed Internet quickly became apparent to many of our customers who had not subscribed to sufficient Broadband speeds to accommodate their needs. With all the economic uncertainty, we felt like our customers could use a break, so Btel began offering free upgrades to our customers across our network, and also waived all installation fees for new service.

As the orders came rushing in to Btel, our employees went to work doing whatever was required to provide the highest quality of bandwidth available. Whether it was bonding pairs for DSL, grooming the network to allow for more bandwidth, or assisting customers with issues within the home, the employees at Btel stepped up to the challenge in every way. I am very proud of the performance of our Btel employees in these difficult circumstances, and the tremendous effort put forth in serving our community.

Charlie Greenberg talks COVID-19 network response, rural network transformation, and how to encourage risk-taking across your team.

Originally published on isemag.com October 1, 2020