Believe it or not, there are still areas of our country that do not have access to broadband capable of even loading a webpage. In fact, according to the NTIA as many as 10% of Americans have minimal access and less than 70% of homes have broadband access.
Although the numbers show an improvement over years past, it indicates that there is still room for Cable MSO growth especially in remote areas. The challenge for Cable MSOs is not just how to set up the infrastructure in remote areas but also how to manage cable assets spread out over a large geographical area.
Where the Cable Opportunity Is
“The map shows that between 5 – 10 percent of Americans lack access to broadband at speeds that support a basic set of applications, including downloading Web pages, photos and video, and using simple video conferencing.”
To understand how an EAM system may help Cable MSOs manage their assets, it is necessary to understand where the growth opportunities are occurring. Other findings from the NTIA report include:
- 2/3 of schools have inadequate connection speeds lower than 25 Mbps. Most schools need connection speeds between 50 and 100 Mbps.
- Only four percent of libraries reported subscribing to speeds greater than 25 Mbps.
- 70 percent of urban households and only 60 percent of rural households accessed broadband Internet service.
- 28.3 percent of all persons do not use the Internet in any location.
What does this report tell us? The finding from NTIA clearly show that there is opportunity to service remote areas such as Wyoming, Nevada and even Upstate New York. The findings also show that infrastructure needs to be upgraded to support higher internet speeds in both developed areas and non-urban areas.
How an EAM Can Help Cable MSO Asset Management
Managing cable assets is more than just keeping track of CPE or managing contractors. Cable MSOs often operate large hub and spoke operations. This means that on top of CPE management, cable operators must also manage facilities, field assets such as head ends or signal amplifiers and fleets.
Each of these challenges can be overwhelming unless there is a system capable of tracking where all assets are as well as the condition they are in. This is the function of an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system.
EAM solutions look at assets over the scope of the entire cable operation to ensure that asset management is not only efficient but that assets are being cared for properly.
EAM for Remote Cable Service
As the NTIA map shows, there is significant opportunity to provide service from the Rocky Mountains to Mississippi River. Because of the investment needed to create the infrastructure necessary it is important to make sure that assets are being managed from the planning stage to service inception and throughout the useful lifecycle of the asset.
“In far-flung places too expensive to wire — even for the most customer-hungry distributors — roughly 19 million rural Americans currently have little or no access to highspeed Internet service.”
Source: Mike Farell, Multichannel News
EAM handles this by organizing asset details and then providing the tools necessary to ensure proper maintenance planning and care. The EAM tools for doing this include but are not limited to:
- Creating a database of asset details such as location, description, purchase date, vendor, serial number etc.
- Automating work management such as work requests, work orders and cable asset inspections. This also sharply reduces paper flow lowering costs and increasing labor efficiency.
- Collecting the work history of each asset in order to provide customized reports on trends to develop standard operating procedures, make repair/replacement decisions and capital budget forecasts.
- Collecting critical documents for unequaled EAM document handling and storage. Documents that can be scanned and attached to assets for use in work management or review range can be almost anything including blueprints, schematics, contracts and photos.
- Enterprise level scheduling tools for preventive maintenance, rounds and inspections.
When these tools are used properly, maintenance management operates proactively and asset managers will always know where their assets are and the condition they are in. The result is longer lasting assets, fewer major repairs and lower labor costs.
EAM for Urban Cable Infrastructure Development
Managing urban assets is very similar to managing remote assets. The key difference is that most urban areas have existing infrastructure that require better maintenance care be given to equipment as a result of age, wear and tear or other damages.
For urban cable operations an EAM system can put additional focus on making sure that maintenance is proactive, efficient and cost effective. This can be done by making sure all assets are scheduled for inspections, preventive maintenance or repairs before larger capitalized replacements (or major repairs) are needed.
Additional efficiencies are achieved when mobile devices are integrated into maintenance management. For example, rugged mobile devices can be used to complete inspections, submit work requests and report work order results.
As a final note, Cable EAM solutions will work for any asset whether they are fleet vehicles, facility HVAC units or the general care of hub and spoke facilities. Implementing an EAM system today will save Cable MSOs money now and in the future making it a requirement for the modern Cable MSO.