Winning the global race to 5G will require a complete overhaul of the existing telecommunication wireless architecture, especially fronthaul fiber.
A recent report, 2019 is Telecom’s Tipping Point released by Sitetracker, a provider of cloud-based project management software for high-volume telecom and critical infrastructure projects, highlights critical challenges related to the need for more fronthaul fiber in the race to 5G.
According to the report, the majority of the fiber infrastructure existing today has been constructed to support connectivity for enterprise and datacenter applications, but the advent of 5G will require a much more fiber-dense network.
An entirely new infrastructure comprised of fronthaul fiber, small cells, DAS, and cell towers is needed to bring the next generation of cellular technology to life.
While project volumes are rising exponentially to meet this demand, timelines for completion remain excessively long.
Giuseppe Incitti, CEO of Sitetracker, says that he’s seen a massive uptick in project volume.
“We see project volumes in the industry exploding. Multiple regional service providers have tripled in size organically just to do this work. That’s just one data point.” said Incitti.
“I cannot overemphasize the importance of building fast. The time is now. Those who can build faster will dominate the telecom space in the future,” Incitti added.
With more than $19 billion in assets-under-management Sitetracker is used by more than 15,000 project managers to identify, prioritize and seamlessly manage the numerous steps and stakeholders involved in the deployment of large-scale infrastructure projects.
The platform has a 91% adoption rate and has established a coveted customer-base consisting of telecom leaders such as Verizon, ExteNet, ISCO, and others.
“With all the talk out there around the race to 5G, it’s critical for us to make sure that our customers understand the challenges that are upcoming,” said Brett Chester, Vice President of Marketing at Sitetracker. “Ultimately, we’re here to make sure that deployments happen on time and on budget. And exposing the risks around fiber is essential to bringing our 5G future to life.”
The company says faster deployment times have resulted in increased revenue for its customers.
“The key to building faster is efficiency. We are able to reduce cycle times by 30% by unifying project information and providing real-time reporting through our cloud-based software to ensure that all project information lives in one place and our customers have a single source of truth,” said Incitti.
“When cycle times are shorter our customers can increase revenue, grow faster, and gain greater market share. Efficiency makes their businesses more viable and gives them more cash on hand,” he added.
The platform is helping to free up cash-on-hand for vendors by reducing turnaround time for payments and enabling companies to take on more projects.
“We have vendors that were having their cash tied up or delayed because they had 90-day turnarounds to get payment before using Sitetracker. Now, with our integrations to financial systems like Quick Books and NetSuite for automated invoicing, our customers are more financially viable because they are getting paid faster,” Chester added.
The company says that the newly placed requirements by The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on municipalities to approve permitting of 5G projects in 90 days is likely to increase the demand for tools like Sitetracker.
“While easing the permitting process will help to speed things up, it won’t necessarily get you to “on-air” faster. What will get you deploying faster is to make sure you have right tools in hand to manage and coordinate the 70 to 100 other activities that are required to complete these types of projects,” Chester said.
Editorial note: While the article above focuses on the telecom industry, the Sitetracker platform is also used as a project management tool in other large infrastructure projects in the utilities, energy, smart cities, media, and retail verticals.