Because of the complexity of fiber, many of the common challenges faced by communication service providers (CSPs) today revolve around managing physical network assets. Historically, CSPs have often struggled with getting as-built records at the conclusion of the fiber rollout; but the necessity and growth of fiber has brought this issue further into the spotlight. As-builts are vital to avoiding unexpected expenses during deployment, particularly when construction strays from initial plans and designs.
On a recent episode of Fiberside Chat, a 3-GIS Podcast, host Courtney Echerd digs into these issues and potential solutions with Jerry Golden, Sr. Vice President and Co-Founder, 3-GIS, Jeff Davis, HDD Product Marketing Manager, Ditch Witch, and Alex Wagner, Subsite Product Marketing Manager, HDD Guidance Products.
Golden highlights two explanations for why obtaining as-built records can prove challenging to fiber deployment:
- The task can be very time-consuming and “everybody is so focused on rolling out the next fiber project that they're not really focused on collecting the as-builts and updating the records to reflect what is being built."
- As with many industries, there is an evident resource constraint. “As we're seeing all over the place in every industry. But the fiber industry is seeing a big resource constraint. And so you kind of have to prioritize where you put your resources”, meaning the as-built records fall to the very bottom of the priority list.
Another issue is the demand for faster network construction, making it essential to have accurate, real-time information to execute network projects. Real-time data that is accurate assists in identifying new market opportunities, maximizing return on network investments, and improving service delivery. With extensive physical assets and the growing complexity of networks and infrastructure, particularly with 5G network buildouts, there is pressure on historical records to be precise and a requirement for databases to be enriched.
"There are always areas where you tie into an existing network," Golden explains "and there's always data that you need from the past projects that created the backbone or the ring where you're tying into the network." Missing information, such as depths, can cause delays and rework when tying into an existing network. One example found 3-GIS creating designs based on an inaccessible point because it was mislocated on the as-builts and was too deep to reach.
When asked about the advancements in the drill lineup, Davis says that “the advancements in the technology of our product line have come a long way to making everything more user-friendly, more versatile and easier to operate.” He further explains that “not every soil conditions in the industry are the same, that they're not all soft. You know, you just can't go in there and just jump in there and drill board simple and easy anymore. You do encounter very, very hard rock formations and you know, fiber projects, they still have to go on no matter what kind of ground conditions you're in. So in our HD lineup with the Ditch Witch all-terrain systems, we have the capabilities to jump in there with our mid-sized drill, with our newest, newest one in the product.”
Check out this episode of the Fiberside Chat with 3-GIS podcast to dive deeper into the discussion on the issues and resolutions surrounding as-built recordkeeping. Listen online here or download the episode from iTunes or Spotify.