Selling electricity and gas over the counter? That’s exactly what the newly inaugurated customer center of stadtwerke forchheim at hauptstrabe 54 in the fubganger zone offers. The inner-city customer center is the final step in the development process of the municipal utility, which has evolved from a pure provider of electricity, gas, water and wastewater to an all-rounder in the field of networking.
Managing director reinhold muller sees a marketing focus on fast internet access. "We have built up market expertise, and since the beginning of the year we have joined the ranks of global players such as telekom and vodafone." these divided the market among themselves, but for forchheim, the municipal utility had created a niche for burghers and businesses. "We offer municipal networking from a single source", underlined muller.
For 15 years, the municipal utility has been laying fiber optic cables in clusters, which have a coarser bandwidth and speed than conventional copper cables. The installation costs money, so that a sufficiently large demand must first be found in a city district in order to be able to form a cluster. Christian sponsel, the designated technical director of the municipal utility, describes the advantages: "our product, which is called "foone", is a very attractive alternative to the conventional energy supply guaranteed minimum internet speed and no "up to – speed".
Christian palla, head of telecommunications and multimedia, added: "the latest tv sets are offered with so-called "four K resolution or in UHDTV picture format. The abbreviation stands for "ultra high definition television" and offers resolutions of 7.680 × 4.320 pixels – almost eight times the resolution of full HD. In addition, movies from netflix and amazon were also offered in higher resolution. They needed a correspondingly higher data rate. "A standard connection for private households will be a tight squeeze!", according to palla. He sees it as the task of the municipal utility to improve the infrastructure in the city and district of forchheim.
In the customer center, three to four employees will provide advice on all the services offered by the municipal utility company. In addition to high-speed internet and telecommunications, experts are available for electricity, gas, electric charging stations, and contracting optimization of heat and energy supply. The center in hauptstrabe increases the visibility of the municipal utilities and intensifies direct contact with the customer. Special offers should be clearly visible here. It is also intended to provide a point of contact for customers in the district who are not so familiar with the main office at haidfeldstrabe 8 and who want to run an errand quickly in forchheim. Furthermore, the service center in haidfeldstrabe is only open until 12 noon on friday.30 o’clock open. The lease on the downtown property has a term of three years.
City manager elena buttner was pleased that an empty storefront is being filled with life: "in competition with online offers, personal customer service is particularly important. It is a great gain for "foone" in the main street to enable contact with the people."