3.) Definition of viable project boundaries and rough order of magnitude (ROM) cost to serve.
4.) Identification and analysis of the competitive landscape, especially winners of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) awards; assess the value of the award against the ROM.
5.) Weighting these attributes and then simply running the math to identify the opportunities with the highest possibility of success.
With this data in hand, the service provider will be equipped to prioritize and focus energy on the communities that rose to the top of the list.
Designing an Efficient Plan
The next step is to drill down further by designing the most efficient network plan possible to expand and/or enhance broadband to the targeted communities. A comprehensive build-out plan should identify and consider the following:
• Which locations or census blocks might a community have surveyed and designated as underserved?
• Conduct a review of the new National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) maps with the community to validate the applicability to broadband in extended areas beyond the Form 477 disclosures.
• Are homes with school-going children served? Create a plan to serve them first.
• What is the average cost for a robust fiber-to-the-home network?
• What level of subsidy would be needed to make it a winning proposition for both the local government and the service provider?
• Are there any outlying locations that could drive the project cost to be sky high?
• Would fixed wireless to the more remote locations be a viable alternative to achieve the goal for everyone?
• Are there additional households or businesses along the new network path, that expand the addressable market and improve the business case?
• Where should the build start to assure the strongest cash flow?
• Validate if the RDOF winner in the area has plans to build in the near term. Confirm the RDOF win value against the cost to build the distribution network.
Service providers armed with these detailed plans will be ready to productively engage with community leaders on a path to most efficiently and effectively assuring significantly better broadband for all in the community.
Written by Sally Hudson. Sally serves as chief marketing officer at VCTI, a provider of broadband and network technology services.