Navigating the network lifecycle: Open for sale

After planning, engineering, field verification, and construction, it was finally time to help our client open for service! Success required seamless coordination across all aspects of our operations, from marketing strategies to customer installations. 

This is where the rubber hits the road for the majority of our customers. In this instance, our customer was attempting to push the market forward. To do this, we had to pass as many homes as possible in our markets and aggressively activate the newly built network. This was by no means a small task. All of the elements in addition to marketing and customer install had to work in perfect harmony.  

Success was only made possible through the vision of implementing a system in which all the data from planning, design, and construction was located and accessible through a single database. Marketing had insight into the status of the network build and could target areas for promotional activities. Sales, in turn, had immediate insight into lit home passings.

Conversely, as marketing evaluated the number of qualified homes interested in obtaining service, engineering and construction could pivot and focus on prioritizing those areas for build. In short, providing a single source of information as it related to the design and construction activities led to shorter activation windows for new customers, resulting in earlier revenue recognition.

Not only did the single system of record provide for earlier revenue, it also allowed us to evaluate the efficacy of new network topologies and deployment methods in near real-time. Our customer was willing to push the envelope by challenging conventional deployment methods to speed up construction and reduce the cost of homes passed.

I recall an exercise where we evaluated the cost and time to construct a centralized split network against a distributed split network. With the data stored in a single view, we were able to compare a historical centralized split market with the distributed split workflow implemented in a new market. We reviewed total route mileage against construction costs, as well as evaluated the cost of splicing against using multi-service terminals to support pre-connecterized drops. We were able to make the assessment and evaluate the results in less than four weeks.

Ultimately, the results were so promising it led to migrating the market designs in flight to the new distributed split topology in just three months, all of which ultimately reduced the timeline to open for service by 30-40%. This exercise would have been next to impossible if the data was in disparate CAD files, but instead was conducted efficiently through 3-GIS | Web.

Network management is our business. All of the experiences we encountered through the initial phases of the projects were a struggle. We were forced to do things differently and apply our technology to a different set of problems, but we made it! The entire network footprint was now in a single system of record being maintained with our business logic driving many of the decisions as it related to new network builds and extensions. 

We did not, however, reach this point in the project without some issues. We all went so fast we had to take shortcuts along the way. We had hundreds of people planning, designing, building, and updating the network across multiple markets. This led to some issues.

Fortunately, we were able to evaluate and adjust the inventory across the entire dataset, as opposed to home by home or market by market. This improved the veracity of the data to support downstream operations and maintenance activities. Understanding who is connected in the network and the availability of fiber allows for targeting marketing and sales activities so that our customer can take advantage of an existing asset for revenue generation.

As I sit here, I can’t help but admire what we accomplished. We were just one small piece of the puzzle with many sacrificing long nights, family time, and special occasions to meet the initial goal of increasing awareness on high-speed broadband, creating competition, and ultimately proving that building high-speed broadband across the country was not just a dream but could be a reality.

We have seen an explosion of broadband availability not only from the incumbent providers but from hundreds of startup service providers—all of which can relate to the trials and tribulations I have recounted here. Navigating the network lifecycle is a continual process, but holistic database approaches help to strategically capitalize on the process.

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