By Dennis Mazaris
As a telecom agent, there is no question that you will be involved with numerous demarc extensions. As a best business practice, you may wish to accommodate your customer’s requirements for rapid delivery and fault resolution of the circuit at the time of delivery, beyond the demarcation point. It is important to be aware of potential pitfalls that can arise on your customer’s side with a demarc extension of the circuit.
Frequently referred to as “inside wiring," the demarc extension is the last piece of cabling and, in some cases, equipment required from where the local access provider or ILEC drops the local loop off at your customer’s site. This area is typically the minimum point of entry (MPOE) in a facility. As mandated by the FCC, ownership of service must be transferred from the local access provider to the customer at the demarcation point (demarc), located within the MPOE.
When a demarc extension is not working or experiences intermittent problems, the users within the network are unable to communicate. With the Internet and other forms of communications playing a large role in business, a faulty demarc extension can have a substantial impact on business operations.
Even though it may not seem to be part of the agent's responsibility, a demarc extension is essential to the circuit and, therefore, considered in the fault resolution when a circuit goes down. From the customer’s perspective, this is often assumed to be included as part of the delivery of a circuit. When a circuit issue arises due to a faulty demarc extension, the agent should be proactive to resolve the issues and ensure full operability of the circuit. This gray area can have a significant impact on the perception of the agent's capabilities to deliver the circuit on time or quickly rectify a circuit fault.
As an agent, here is what you can do:
- Make sure your customer is aware of the arrangements for extending the circuit to the customer’s required location within their facility. It is always important to check a few days prior to installation (FOC date) to confirm that the arrangements have been made and are on schedule.
- If your customer elects to perform the work with its own employees or contract the work out to a local company, make sure upon delivery of service that the circuit is tested at the end of the demarc extension, preferably with the customer premises equipment (CPE) installed. This testing is critical to avoid circuit issues, which may result in unsatisfied calls from the customer in the future.
- If the customer requests the local access provider (or carrier) extend the service, confirm that the proper paperwork has been completed. Due to insurance and labor agreements, make certain there are no construction restraints at the site that may cause the local access provider to refuse installing the demarc extension. Such issues may include ceiling height requirements calling for tall ladders, lifts or core-hole drilling between riser closets.
- You may choose to have the carrier partner perform the demarc extension. You will want to understand its entire process, including who it uses, its experience with demarc extensions and warranties because these partners (technicians) are going to be the physical representation of your capabilities at the customer’s site.