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Telco field service teams: 3 important tips to navigate broadband expansion in the U.S

Tania Piunno
Tania Piunno
February 8, 2023
7 min. read

Broadband expansion is a key area of focus for the Biden Administration. In February 2023, telcos are likely planning ahead to mobilize their in-house field teams and contractors to adapt to shifts in the market. But the road ahead may be challenging to navigate as congressional houses and state legislatures work through practicalities.

For instance, some organizations may be experiencing a lack of clarity, or even friction, around next steps, due to the passage of infrastructure legislation. Politicians are currently working through key decisions that impact the public, particularly around existing foundational policies.

How service companies in telecommunications can prepare

During this time, one constructive step that service organizations can take is to streamline internal business operations procedures with field service management software. Features include advanced scheduling and optimized routing for new installations and maintenance visits.

These incremental efficiencies can help mobile teams remain adaptable to what’s currently happening  — and focus more strategically on initiatives that require field service support. After all, broadband expansion in the United States is continuing to move forward, which represents a major market opportunity for service companies. They will have a lot of work to do including deploying new infrastructure in more remote areas to provide high-speed internet access to people who don’t have it.

Utilizing the right software to streamline operations will help telecom service companies deploy new installations on time, efficiently maintain existing infrastructure, and exceed customer expectations. With the dispatcher and technician in mind, Praxedo can be configured to adjust to the way your organization works, which will be the key to more efficient broadband deployments.

Tip #1: Become familiar with example practical challenges around broadband deployment

A key focus for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation is broadband expansion in rural areas across the United States. Consider the current legislative process regarding licensed “spectrum” auctions, as an example. Legislation that has been in place since 1993 is being re-evaluated. The original expiration date was September 30, 1998, and it has since been extended three times.

What is “spectrum”?

“Spectrum refers to the invisible radio frequencies that wireless signals travel over,” writes Meredith Attwell Baker, president and CEO at CTIA, which represents the U.S. wireless communications industry. “Those signals are what enable us to make calls from our mobile devices, tag our friends on Instagram, call an Uber, pull up directions to a destination, and do everything on our mobile devices.”

At the end of 2022, as part of the omnibus spending bill, Congress provided authorization for the Federal Communications Commission to conduct limited auctions for licensed spectrum through March 9, 2023. This measure is a short-term extension to ensure that the FCC authority does not lapse.

“Auctioning more licensed spectrum is critical to the U.S. maintaining global competitiveness and spurring innovation,” writes Ike Brannon, Fellow at the Jack Kemp Foundation, for Forbes.

However, at the present moment, the market does not have a view of the decision beyond March 9. There’s understandable uncertainty about what the future legislation will look like.

Nevertheless, executives and field teams need to be ready for whatever comes next.

Tip #2: Know how best-of-breed field service software supports market adaptation

Best-of-breed software is more important to telecom field services companies in broadband than ever before. This technology is especially critical for counteracting challenges regarding operating and capital expenditures, staffing and recruitment. Best-of-breed field service software can help teams stay resilient and continue making forward business progress in spite of uncertainties.

It helps optimize service processes so that technicians in the field can effectively carry out broadband assignments. By having a work order management system in the palm of their hands, information is exchanged more fluidly and teams feel empowered on every job site. As a result, technicians can do more, with less while still providing superior service quality.

The opposite of an all-in-one system

“You can think of ‘Best-of-Breed’ as the opposite of an ‘all-in-one’ system,” explains a recent whitepaper published by Praxedo. “The technology won’t do everything for you — but what it can do, it does well.”

Praxedo is a Best-of-Breed solution for handling tasks related to field service, work order management and preventive maintenance. This Field Service Management (FSM) specialization has positioned it as a go-to solutions provider for the telecommunications industry. Product features align precisely to people and processes and the goal is for the software to adapt to human workflows rather than requiring people to adapt to the technology.

Best-of-breed software leverages data collected in the field to help service businesses maintain an accurate view of their performance, technicians’ productivity, and agility. As legislation and funding activity continue to evolve around broadband, field service organizations can adapt with greater efficiency and performance in their core operations.

Tip #3: Implement workflows around key processes

The bigger picture is that 5G implementation is a value-add for American society as a whole and broadband deployment is a major area of economic growth. Keeping this context in mind, field service organizations need to be ready to scale to the needs of the market.

“Ubiquitous 5G would effectively increase the capacity and productivity of our other infrastructure, not to mention create jobs, boost productivity, and accomplish a wide range of technological achievements such as the introduction of driverless cars, virtual reality, and a range of applications that have the potential to help us reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions,” writes Ike Brannon for Forbes.

A key metric for service companies

For field service teams looking to boost efficiencies, reducing maintenance visit time is a key metric to strive towards. One way to optimize this process is through intelligent schedules.

A key feature within Praxedo, for instance, is optimized scheduling. This capability helps make telco field work more efficient and profitable. The SmartScheduler optimizes technicians’ routes automatically within seconds, simplifying the administrator’s job at the office. SmartScheduler is an algorithm based tool that analyzes operating constraints and the distances between job sites to keep them as short as possible. In addition, advanced scheduling functionality determines which field technician is best qualified for a particular work order based on travel time, and employee skill set. Essentially, when you manage schedules more efficiently, teams can better respond to their work orders, whether the request is for a maintenance visit or even an emergency situation.

Technicians can also maintain accurate and detailed work order reports on their mobile devices, which is particularly helpful for sharing data with others and making quick decisions. When a work order report is completed, it is automatically transmitted to administrators in the office. Forms are configured beforehand to guide technicians through their day, so they can spend less time inputting information and more time with customers.

In fast-paced environments like telecommunications, field technicians can make optimal judgment calls — they can add themselves to a new work order when nearby, for example – increasing efficiency overall. These streamlining efforts will ultimately support organizational agility and productivity.

Final thoughts

Broadband expansion is a key priority throughout the United States; however, it can be challenging to anticipate legislative decisions taking place around the corner. One of the best investments that field service organizations can make is to improve their ability to adapt and respond.

Best-of-breed technology like Praxedo is key to helping field service teams make optimal situational decisions and take fast action to respond to the market — especially when legislative decisions are in a holding pattern.

If you’d like to learn more about Praxedo, request a demo here.

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