An industry-first solution that helps utilities, cooperatives, and municipalities effectively act on state and federal funding earmarked for rural broadband deployment.
McLean Engineering recently contracted with Alden Systems, creating a partnership aimed at helping to solve one of our nation’s most pressing problems: the overwhelming lack of broadband in rural areas. According to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report, “approximately 19 million Americans—6 percent of the population—still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. In rural areas, nearly one-fourth of the population —14.5 million people—lack access to this service.” As recent federal funding through programs like the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and Connect America Fund provide cash infusions intended to propel rural broadband deployment, it’s becoming clear that a lack of funding is not the only hurdle to achieving connected communities.
Without a way for cooperatives and municipal utilities in underserved areas to effectively engage with broadband providers, and more importantly, the state and federal regulatory and reporting requirements tied to the allocated dollars, no funding initiative can truly be effective. “There's a tremendous burden on pole owners and rural utilities to administer this process well. It’s a challenge like we have never seen before,” says Sean Knowles, Vice President of Business Development for McLean Engineering. The novelty is a challenge; plus, many of these utilities simply are lacking the tools and support — until now.
A New Solution for a Gap That Can Be Bridged
Alden One®, the nation’s leading online centralized business automation platform, supports measurement, data tracking, analytics, and collaboration among electric utilities, broadband providers, and telecommunications companies. McLean provides engineering, design, and pole attachment support services to electric utility clients throughout the U.S.
These companies spent months combining their expertise, customizing the Alden One software platform to accommodate the needs of cooperatives and municipalities. The result? McLean Engineering can now offer a software solution designed specifically to capture data that must be reported and facilitate workflows efficiently to their clients that might not otherwise have resources or capability to leverage technology needed to get the job done right.
“We’ve worked with Alden Systems for a number of years, and we trust them. No other company has responded with interest and commitment to serve the electric cooperative and municipal market like Alden,” Knowles says. This partnership establishes a template for other companies and future use among utilities who will increasingly become big players in rural broadband deployment.
“We are excited about working with McLean Engineering, who is proactive with a vision for adoption of technology that will improve efficiencies on all fronts. Whereas Alden has historically focused on larger investor-owned utilities, we are retooling our offering to fit the needs of the cooperative and the municipal electric entities,” says John McConnell, Vice President of Business Development for Alden.
Meeting the demands of building better communities through better infrastructure demands innovation. Offering this software solution through a corporate partnership is only one way Alden and McLean Engineering are building for the future.
Alden Systems is a leader in innovative asset management solutions for utilities. The Alden One® platform is an end-to-end joint use asset management system regarded as a standard in the industry. The Alden One® community consists of 490 companies in 39 states across the US. It currently manages 24 million assets and 7,900 joint use contracts. To date, the system has processed over $2 Billion in joint use transactions. It is the state-mandated platform for Utah and Connecticut.
About McLean Engineering
Established in 1936, McLean Engineering has 85 years of experience in the power engineering field, serving electric utility systems throughout the United States. Over the years, McLean Engineering has built a reputation for providing safe, reliable and durable solutions by focusing on long-term relationships with their clients.
McLean Engineering provides design, engineering, and inspection solutions, and is nationally recognized in the area of pole attachments, having presented to national audiences on the topic and consulted for electric utilities across the U.S. on pole attachment issues, including rental rates, permitting, inspection, attacher management, make-ready engineering as well as contract development, negotiation, and administration.