The Case for a Sensible Broadband Investment Strategy

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Is your strategic plan for broadband expansion feasible for engineering?

Today’s broadband investment market is extraordinary. An unprecedented amount of government money, over $100 billion, is or will enter the market as soon as people recognize the critical imperative to upgrade and expand broadband availability to every corner of the country. . When so much money pours in, the landscape of players and technologies will change rapidly, creating real risks for service providers’ business plans and market share. This is a Wild West land grab in all 50 US states and territories.

Given the dangers, the enormous preparation and the money involved, careful planning is of crucial importance. The number of moving parts requires focus, good data and analytics – and a strong team to succeed.

It is no longer enough for a company, and its investors, to have only a solid strategic plan. Today’s market climate demands that strategy quickly translate into plan-making. Then the program needs to move quickly into the execution phase without compromising the foundation of quality analytics and results that will make or destroy the entire business case.

Even the most innovative and ambitious broadband service providers find it difficult to implement strategic and tactical plans. When making multi-million dollar decisions about broadband investments, it can be difficult to tie growth strategy to a network build plan and then to actual execution (design and build). It’s not just a question of talent and leadership; often it is about having access to a linked set of creative methodologies, reliable data, up-to-date market information and sophisticated modeling tools to achieve objectives and give leaders justified confidence in their choice.

Make a deployment checklist

To ensure they are developing a truly executable strategy, leaders should ask themselves and their senior teams the following questions:

  1. Do we have the tools to quickly identify and prioritize the myriad broadband investment opportunities available to us? Suppose we are looking at five or 50 potential investments in the market. Can we obtain data on market demographics, competitive presence and services offered, potential subsidies, and sufficiently accurate construction cost figures for subsidized locations?

    How many more households can we reach with this new network? What is the best way to identify and partner with local, state and federal government entities to extend high-speed broadband services to underserved and unserved communities, schools and businesses struggling to receive investment and funding? broadband subsidies?

    Do we have the tools and methodologies to gain quick access to comprehensive, integrated market analysis and reliable network building insight so the team can rank and prioritize business investments? How can we scale and accelerate our ability to respond to grant calls and proactively deliver solutions for underserved and unserved communities?

  2. Are our data reliable? Are the elements that will impact the ultimate engineering efforts in the field visible? Do we have an accurate view of the critical environmental factors that will affect the business case? For example, reliable information about the presence of utility poles, locations along the planned route, and usability results in business case network construction costs that are reliable today and in the future. .

    Additionally, understanding whether the terrain readily lends itself to wireless services (fixed or mobile) is critical to understanding threats and opportunities. For example, a less wireless friendly environment may provide a longer competitive advantage: it is difficult for fixed wireless operators to enter quickly and provide competitive services. Conversely, terrain with a greater propensity for wireless provides options to upgrade short-term services for the hardest-to-reach places—those typically near the end of the thread build plan.

  3. Do we have the tools to quickly and quickly develop actionable network plans that integrate community priorities into a winning bid to take full advantage of government programs, including the ability to overlay government programs where possible?
  4. Does the team have the capacity, availability, and resources to execute? If not, what resources are needed to help manage the plan? In other words, can the team quickly translate strategic business priorities into substantial network plans and government submissions?
  5. Can we get up-to-date and accurate data on available locations within our footprint, with impact analysis, rates and critical infrastructure overlays so that we can defend against competitors’ attempts to claim well-served areas that should be eligible? This requires precise location data with precision on the services that can be provided.
  6. Is the business development team empowered to proactively identify, engage and work with underserved and unserved communities and quickly create broadband investment and deployment options that meet their highest needs and priorities? more important? Can we be sure that these plans are precise and achievable in order to gain trust through superb execution and avoid the failed expectations that have littered the landscape in the past? What is needed are fast, accurate and actionable investments in broadband, aligned with the needs of local communities.
  7. Finally, when we get grants, can our engineering team take those blueprints and move immediately to detailed, cost-effective design and construction? Or will they be forced to undertake massive replanning, which will cost the company and the community precious weeks, months and even years? Can the plans be integrated with all the standard design tools we currently use or do we need an upgrade?

Warning: use common sense

A strategic plan for broadband expansion is the key to a successful implementation of broadband for all.

Caution and common sense are imperative, as deployers are limited and may even be at risk if data and analysis are not accurate and engineers cannot immediately integrate the data into design tools to complete the construction.

Reputational issues are at stake, as are significant capital investments. My recommendation is to make sure that you can easily translate a strategic plan into a deployed network in the market so that you can realize your return on investment for yourself, your employees, your investors and your community.

Raj Singh is CEO of VCTI, which provides software solutions, consulting services and expert technical resources that accelerate the way service providers and technology companies deliver fast, secure Internet access and cloud services.

Raj Sing

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