Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2019

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | 6 3 We had a large design that needed to be deployed and a distributed workforce that needed to make informed decisions in the field based on what they encountered. When we learned about Render's capabilities [translating network design into a project plan], we realized it could provide an environment that delivered the network design into manageable tasks – but more important, gave us the ability to make informed decisions on the infrastructure and deployment while continuing to construct. RN: How was the transition from network design to construction? JS: We were introduced to Render in the design process by our network design partner, Biarri Networks, and I think that that's the right time to be talking about project deployment. We intentionally spent a few months establishing our design and project management, time well spent given the importance of accurate field data during the construction process. As far as importing a design into Render and setting up the roles around how we maintain the integrity of the data – that took us a week or two. We were able to take the network design and flow it seamlessly through to project and task level management. Once the construction started, the rich design and field data enabled us to construct really quickly. It just makes the design very constructible. It's intuitive and literally places the construction crew in or on the data. [eir reaction is,] "I know exactly what I need to do with this pole. I don't have to flip through hundreds of pages of design data." I've managed a similar process before and stumbled during the transition from what our engineers designed to capturing as-built records centrally without needing to manually reconcile the data. You have a lot of very smart people touching the data and trying to maintain it by interpreting what they're seeing on pieces of paper when really, working off a centralized data source, as we do in Render, makes it so much more seamless. RN: What were some of your core milestones or metrics? JS: Our goal in the first three years was to cover 50 percent of our membership and to deploy the system in a manner that would touch as many members as possible. At this rate, we're going to realize that goal in less than 18 months (reducing the projected three years by 55 percent), a testament to how efficient the network deployment has been. Outside plant is being deployed 84 percent faster than planned. When we initially began the project, we were prepared to have four full-time construction management personnel; however, with Render, we realized we needed only one. We're exceeding our project expectations on 25 percent of the forecast resource spend. Our final true north was being able to successfully deliver on a project of this scale. e project and resource management has surprisingly been the easiest component of the rollout to meet and exceed. RN: Have you been able to deliver greater progress visibility to stakeholders? JS: Absolutely. It's a huge investment, and we need to prove to our stakeholders that we're spending resources in a way that is efficient and effective and ultimately benefits members. Traditionally, we spent a lot of time preparing status updates and tracking progress. We no longer need to devote resources to this because every stakeholder can access real-time geospatial progress views. is enables smart, data-driven decisions on the deployment, which really builds confidence in the project. Craighead Electric Cooperative delivers fiber to underserved communities in Arkansas.

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