Following the planned decoupling of BT and Openreach in October this year, there will be a significant opportunity for small operators and start-ups to capitalise on the Openreach network.
Esri UK is particularly proud therefore to be sponsoring the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) Full fibre and 5G seminar in London on 12th July. Alongside the main agenda, INCA members will be able to explore how geospatial technology is emerging as a key enabler of strategic planning and effective management of fixed, mobile and small cells network operations
Fixed line Broadband
The government has a major initiative on Superfast broadband, aiming to reach 95% of the UK population by the end of 2017 1 . This programme is led by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The Government has committed over £1.2 billion to:
- provide superfast broadband coverage to 95% by the end of 2017 1
- provide access to basic broadband (2Mbps) for all
- explore options to provide superfast coverage to the hardest to reach parts of the UK
BT and Virgin Media own the largest network infrastructure in the UK and are investing heavily in expanding their networks further. However, new independent entrants to the market including Cityfibre, GigaClear, UK Broadband, Airwave and Avanti are also delivering new broadband services to UK cities and towns, connecting rural areas where there is little or no access to broadband services (approx. 1.3 million UK homes). Cityfibre, for example has just kick-started a £200m grand plan to challenge Openreach with fibre to the home, by acquiring Entanet 2 .
The question therefore is how can these organisations maximise their return on investment?
Arguably, this starts with strategic planning using demographic and environmental data, allowing operators to understand which towns and cities to prioritise, taking into account the target customer profile, and identifying the best location for new infrastructure.
Visualisations of the network are essential to disseminate a shared vision of current and planned infrastructure. To keep everyone on the same page, that visualisation needs to be shareable on a range of devices from laptops to mobiles, so that it can be taken out into the field as well as understood by senior stakeholders.
Understanding and responding to patterns of demand – where and when are the peaks and troughs and what are the underlying factors – enables automatic and manual intervention or informs planning for prioritising network capacity upgrades where they are most needed.
Overall an operational intelligence driven approach to the day to day running of the network, incorporating the concepts above, enables increased efficiency and maximises customer service – and therefore customer retention.
Ultimately, as broadband services become a necessary utility, home owners and business will select providers in accordance to their service and costs. Therefore, getting the infrastructure right from the start and maximising the ROI, will deliver value and secure a long and fruitful future.
Small cells and Wi-Fi hotspots will deliver wireless connectivity with greater network capacity, providing users with a smooth experience when watching films or streaming music, social media content and videos. Faster data speeds help to improve customer satisfaction, which has a knock-on effect to the operator's Net Promoter Score (NPS), Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and subscriber loyalty. In addition, in a connected world, as more and more devices become connected within a closer proximity, high capacity networks reduce the chance of network congestion.
The question is where to locate the Wi-Fi or small cell infrastructure? That is often a complex problem, which depends on geographic patterns of demand, the physical suitability of the location and the proximity of supporting infrastructure. Finding the right answers is essential to driving return on investment.
The importance of location and time
It is interesting to note that both the Fixed and Mobile challenges I’ve described above are underpinned by a sense and understanding of location and time and it is no surprise therefore that leading telcos are turning to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to enable strategic planning, agile operational intelligence and ultimately to robust ROI and customer retention.
If you are an INCA member and will be attending the Full Fibre and 5G event on July 12th then I will look forward to meeting you there. Otherwise the following may be of interest and of course please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any of these ideas:
- GOV.UK Broadband Delivery UK
- Telecoms.com CityFibre kick-starts £200m grand plan to challenge Openreach