Tales From the Vault #2: Stories of Joint Use in the Wild
At Alden, our experts travel all over the country solving infrastructure asset management, data collection, data management and joint use issues for companies of all shapes and sizes. We see a lot of different situations, and as a result, we bring home a lot of stories.
The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but these tales of joint use dilemmas, field asset management doubts, conduit conundrums, NESC enigmas and backlog bad luck are absolutely real. So sit back and settle in. These are Tales From the Vault and we are your hosts—the Vault Keepers.
Today's Tale: The Ghost of Backlogs Past
The Setting: Rivertown, USA
The Situation: A local telco in an up-and-coming mid-sized city found itself in the middle of a broadband growth spurt and quickly realized its joint use department was A) already behind on requests to attach, and B) had not truly assessed the competition to its services that were currently flooding the market. This posed a couple of problems. First, attachers chomping at the bit to use the telco's assets to increase connectivity and customer base were being put off indefinitely. Secondly, the telco was quickly falling further and further behind, creating some ill will in the marketplace. And finally, the competition was, in some cases, simply attaching without waiting for approval, meaning this company was also losing customer share to entities that were bootlegging on their own assets. This created a lose-lose situation.
The Solution: In the field, we discovered 30+ broadband providers vying for space on assets owned primarily by the telco. The revelation amounted to a major revenue opportunity miss. Few, if any, of the competing providers had successfully secured joint use agreements. In fact, many whose requests had been stuck in the backlog were quietly rallying behind the asset owner's back. Just before we arrived on the scene, our client had been turned into the FCC by angry attachers waiting their turn. The fines (and scrutiny) were not welcome. Alden stepped in to clear the backlog, secured joint use agreements with the long line of attachers waiting in the wings, and then put processes in place to ensure the lag would not happen again.
The Lesson: Backlogs of any type generally create a bad situation. Couple that with a hot broadband market and attachers who want to sign up new customers, and a simple resource contention issue can quickly turn into a stressful run-in with the FCC. The best advice: Get smart about field asset management and get help when help is needed; the ghost of backlogs past are nothing anyone wants to have in their house.