Breaking ground on your broadband network build is an exciting milestone. But this is just the beginning of a monumental project. To help ensure a successful network build, broadband service providers (BSPs) should surround themselves with experience and knowledge. In addition to choosing the right construction partner, BSPs need to understand and monitor each stage of the build, be current on construction site safety, and engage community members.
The Broadband Academy Build for Broadband Services course will provide you with the information you need to make smart decisions during the critical build phase. Once you’ve completed all five lessons, you’ll know how to apply each of these key learnings to your project.
Partner with the right construction contractor. If there’s only one thing you take away from this lesson, it’s that experience matters. Researching contractors, getting recommendations from industry peers or colleagues, and issuing RFPs to attract bidders are all great ways to assess track records. You can then evaluate your options based on your key criteria. And while it might be tempting to award the project to the lowest bidder, it’s important to remember that investing in an experienced contractor upfront can save you money in the long run.
Understand the seven stages of constructing the outside plant. Once you’ve secured funding and have the final network designs in hand, you’ve officially entered the build phase, which can take between six months and three years to complete. A key part of the build phase is the construction of the outside plant. We’ll go over each of the seven stages of construction—from modifying the service area and preparing the pole structures for optical fiber installation to placing and splicing access terminals, drop splicing, and testing. This will give you the insights you need to monitor progress effectively and make sound decisions throughout the process.
Monitor each phase of the build with three key practices. Keeping a project of this magnitude running on time and on budget—without compromising quality or safety—is a huge undertaking. Your general contractor or project manager will take the lead on managing crews and technicians and overseeing daily operations, but you should also plan to play an active role. This lesson covers three important practices for monitoring your network build: regular communication, ongoing documentation, and inspections and testing. Your involvement before, during, and after the build will help ensure that the network is as efficient and high performing as possible once completed.
Mitigate safety risks, equipment damage, and future restoration issues. Proper crew training at the outset of the build, preventing unauthorized site access, and following eyewear and electrical safety rules are some essential precautions to take during construction. Likewise, handling fiber cables with care by preventing contamination from dirt and debris and knowing their bend radius will help prevent damage that can be costly and time-consuming to fix. That said, you’ll need to factor repair work into your network build so that future restorations can be completed quickly and with minimal disruption to subscribers. You’ll learn how to reduce risks that can impact your timeline, budget, and build quality.
Engage the community at every stage of the network build. We recommend involving the community while you gather information for your feasibility study. This gives residents an opportunity to voice their opinions, needs, and concerns about their current—or lack of—broadband service. Now that you’re starting to build the network, you should update, educate, and market to your community regularly. We’ll discuss different strategies to achieve these goals while effectively generating ongoing interest in your brand and services.
These five lessons, along with the firsthand experience of customers like LIT Communities and Medina County Fiber Networks, can help you pave the way for a smooth network build.