6 Steps to Easing Fiber Access Telecom Solutions

As many organizations turn from copper based solutions such as ISDN PRI and T1s to fiber based access, no longer are implementation completion dates in the 30 to 45 day range.  Instead, depending on your geographic location, these deployment schedules can take up to six months.  And, as the ground hardens in the winter, it can even take longer.

So, knowing that taking advantage of these higher speed, more reliable access types can be cost effective and efficient, what can you do to keep your project on track and lesson the opportunity for extended delays?

  1. Plan for the Longer Implementations – Instead of starting to look at new options as your contracts expire 90 days in advance, it is recommended you start almost a year ahead. This allows you time to explore technologies, meet with vendors and evaluate solutions without rushing through the process.  Note:  If you are new to fiber based technologies, there also may be other benefits that can improve your overall communications technology that you should consider.
  2. Be Responsive – Everyone is always very busy, but spending time to ensure that critical tasks are completed can impact the implementation by months. Once a fiber based order is placed, a site survey is generally scheduled within the first thirty days.  The results of this survey can require on-site work to be completed by the customer such as local power at the demarcation point, fiber extensions and available rack space.  Should these tasks not be completed in a timely manner, service delivery can be delayed.
  3. Right of Entry – Because fiber must be physically installed from the street, across the property and through the walls of the building, the carrier often provides a Right of Entry (ROE) form. This form must be executed prior to work getting started.  If you are leasing or renting your space, the building landlord may need to get engaged.  In these circumstances, it is often recommended that this communication occur early in the process to eliminate potential delays.
  4. Network Equipment Interfaces – Fiber is delivered to the customer premises on a carrier provided switch. This fiber than needs to be delivered to the customer’s network equipment.  It is vital to understand what type of interfaces (electrical or optical) that will be utilized.  And, depending on the physical distance between the demarcation point and your network equipment, an optical extension may be required.  This drives the interfaces that are necessary both on the carrier switch and your network equipment.  Changes to these interfaces can delay or even abort an order.
  5. Order Management – Many fiber based implementations can enter black holes for extended periods of time. However, you should be receiving updates at least every couple of weeks.  If not, it is advised you reach out for updates to ensure that your project stays on track.  Confirm no one is waiting on you for the next step.
  6. Key Dates – Beyond the initial ordering date and the site survey described above, there are also up to four other critical dates to be completed prior to the service being available to you.
    1. Fiber delivery to the building and termination.
    2. Local access provider testing.
    3. Carrier testing from their point of presence to the demarcation point
    4. (optional) Carrier installation of network router.

As many have found, utilizing fiber access to support telecommunications services can exponentially increase network capacity, provide for more reliable connections AND reduce monthly costs.  The aggregate of these benefits is driving many organizations to these solutions.  However, there are some special considerations that must be addressed.  And, it all starts with understanding these solutions take longer.  So, start early, address your responsibilities and continue to communicate.