A roadmap to success in a 5G world
By now, your utility is likely immersed in the early stages of adapting to a 5G world. Recent global events have given people a taste of how important digital connections are for their relationships and their business. As consumers are seeking to upgrade their mobile devices and cellular providers are looking to meet that demand, the need for a robust 5G infrastructure continues to grow at a rapid pace.
Does your utility have an understanding of all that’s required to be positioned for success in a 5G world? For most utilities, there are three main components to planning for and supporting 5G: overall strategy; project management; and engineering.
While Joint Use applications and pole attachments are not new to utilities, the size and scope of the infrastructure needed to support the 5G rollout is. Utilities on the forefront of the rollout have oftentimes found that the unique demands of 5G require a unique approach. This includes approaching 5G design efforts differently than traditional make-ready design, often with dedicated staff and innovative project management tools. These forward-thinking utilities are looking for optimized and efficient ways to respond to the onslaught of applications while remaining focused on their core mission to deliver safe, reliable power. At the same time, consideration should be taken to investigate what additional opportunities are available – and possible – for utilities to achieve cost savings via large 5G implementations. For example, can efficiencies be gained by replacing streetlights with LEDs while also doing the requisite construction work to support 5G components? Can utilities integrate existing metering infrastructure and grid devices with 5G networks to advance their smart grid capabilities?
5G planning strategies should balance and allocate the resources needed to manage and track the application process, develop pricing strategies, evaluate construction standards, and many other moving parts. If your strategies are planned effectively, you can accommodate third party requests efficiently while developing strategies to replace or upgrade existing infrastructure without duplicative efforts, construction delays, and traffic congestion.
There are many discrete actions and decisions required to properly manage the 5G rollout. Process development and project management are both critical success factors to addressing demand while also meeting the mandated “shot clock” requirements.
Utilities that embrace an efficient application process that allows them to manage and track applications while providing real-time updates to the applicants will minimize the administrative burden on the utility. Other considerations that require project management include a coordinated permitting process; construction coordination and inspection; carrier communication, reporting, and billing; and accurately tracking and allocating associated costs.
Finding the right approach to engineering in support of 5G efforts is another consideration. Utilities must decide to either take on or outsource a wide range of required engineering tasks, from field data collection to site walkdowns; from make-ready design services to fiber design services; from developing engineering standards to performing the required engineering tasks; as well as managing permitting submittals, performing post construction audits, and a myriad of other tasks.
We all know that the rollout of 5G infrastructure is underway. If the need for the supporting infrastructure has not currently reached your city or town, it’s only a matter of time before the anticipated demand becomes the current demand.
As you evaluate your approach to 5G, it is critical to develop a roadmap that will lead to success. Missteps can lead to ineffective use of time, resources, revenue, or lost opportunities. Conversely, a strategy that enables you to evaluate the right path for your utility leads to opportunity found.
Leidos combines its expertise in working with utilities and experience in developing solutions for 5G to help utilities set a roadmap that meets their specific needs. Seattle City Light, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Ameren, and others currently rely on Leidos to help them adapt to the 5G world.
With more than 70 years of experience in the utility industry, Leidos has a proven history of helping its clients successfully assess their readiness to support new regulations and requirements, as well as developing longer term strategies for continued success. Leidos helps utilities develop and implement solutions to their unique challenges by evaluating existing systems, assessing where improvements need to be made, and developing solutions that are uniquely tailored to meeting the challenges that each utility will face. Learn more about our power delivery services.