How field service management software can help boost telecoms/broadband businesses
With full fibre penetration hitting the 50% mark during 2022, the UK is in a “golden age for broadband improvements”, according to industry news and information site www.thinkbroadband.com.
The industry has grown exponentially from what once comprised BT’s Openreach business, the incumbent provider of broadband using its legacy duct and pole infrastructure to deliver fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) broadband, and its main market rival Virgin Media. Today there are dozens of providers, many of them focused rolling out advanced telecoms infrastructure in specific regions and areas in the UK.
Industry undergoes rapid growth
Influx of new entrants with investment capital and aggressive rollout targets has resulted in gigabit broadband coverage increasing to 70% from 7%, in 2019, equivalent to 20 million premises connected. Installation rates have risen threefold since 2019. The UK Government’s £5bn Project Gigabit scheme, aimed at improving superfast broadband coverage levels, particularly in rural and difficult to reach areas, is finally progressing, having awarded its first major contract, worth £6m to a provider that is targeting 7000 premises in the Dorset area, in south England.
During the summer of 2022 over 10 million premise passes were reported by the industry, with BT’s Openreach reporting eight million, followed by Hyperoptic with 900,000, G.Network with 400,000 and KCOM with 300,000.
Over 25 suppliers have also announced or finalised new gigabit-capable broadband deployment plans including BeFibre, Brsk, CityFibre, Connect Fibre, Connexin, FullFibre, Gigaclear and Go Fibre.
The industry ranks continue to expand with new applicants requesting Ofcom for Code Powers to deploy fibre infrastructure.
Since May 2022, over £5bn has been invested in the market, most of which has been from a £4.9bn debt-raise by CityFibre, a £100m investment from Freedom Fibre, as well as further funding for F & W Networks (£25 million).
Big demand for engineers
Delivery the scale of roll-out relies on significant capabilities in trained engineers on the ground, which is climbing as the industry ramps up capacity to deliver broadband across the UK. For example. CityFibre has estimated 10,000 jobs, mainly engineering roles, will need to be filled to help deliver its Full Fibre infrastructure to up to eight million premises in the UK.
Another broadband provider, Freedom Fibre has grown from just six employees at the start in March 2021, to over 80 employees in 2022 with 30 vacancies awaiting new team members, enabling it to reach its target of bringing 50,000 homes into the Freedom Fibre network during 2022, while many more will need to be recruited if the company is to achieve its ultimate business plan of reaching more than two million premises in its chosen locations.
Delivering consistency in broadband installations
It’s clear then that a major challenge facing broadband providers is achieving consistency in terms of efficient and rapid broadband installation while expanding engineer fleets to meet installation targets.
Here’s how field service management (FSM) technology can be indispensable:
Make planning broadband installations easier
Street by street, or by postcode, city, town, or village, field service management software for telecoms allows managers of engineer fleets to plan installations and schedule where they need their engineer teams to be, whether it is days, a week or several weeks in advance. The technology allows broadband operators to plan where to send different teams and how many engineers will be required for rollouts in areas.
Take the headache out of scheduling
FSM software automates work order scheduling for every single engineer, no matter the size of fleet, whether dozens, a hundred or several hundred engineers.
The software is user-friendly, designed to be accessed as a simple app on a smartphone or device. Engineers don’t need to worry about finding out where they need to get to, putting in directions, since the app provides this information. This gives dispatchers and managers peace of mind as they can trust that the FSM will ensure every engineer is where they need to be, on time.
FSM makes dispatchers’ jobs much easier, by optimising technicians’ routes through using algorithm-based tools to analyse operating constraints, distances between sites to keep them as short as possible as well as any other work parameters.
Optimise productivity of every single engineer
FSM optimises productivity of engineer fleets, which is a critical feature to help ensure that rollout targets are met, whether tens of thousands to millions of properties.
The software generates activity reports revealing how much time broadband engineers spend in the field, on each job. Engineers update their status on the mobile app, allowing management teams to view the work time to actual time ratio in the field.
Furthermore, a “Cockpit” dashboard feature provides an overview of what’s happening in the field at any given moment. It instantly updates a wide range of indicators, allowing managers to keep an eye on how installations are progressing when mobile teams are in the field. Custom alerts can be set to increase the response rate of engineer teams.
Colour-coded, easy to view, real-time job progress logs let managers review how planned schedules are progressing, at a glance. Where necessary reports can be generated to inform when field engineers are inactive, to see where productivity may need to be improve or to identify other issues such as mileage overages.
Field service management software for broadband helps you organise engineers’ routes and schedules more efficiently by giving you a comprehensive and detailed view of jobs, whether fibre to the property (FTTP), network maintenance, service calls, and so on.
By reducing travel time, keep tabs on job progress and increasing the daily workload of engineers through a more optimised approach that is also designed to minimise paper, savings can be achieved that boost the bottom line.
Enhance service activity
As more broadband is installed, service calls and issues related to this infrastructure are bound to increase. Field service management software is an essential tool for any telecommunications/broadband business that aims to provide best possible service quality, especially as service calls increase. Whether FTTP or copper cable network installations, field service management software for broadband providers makes engineers’ lives easier to ensure rapid, high quality service anywhere in the field, whatever the issue.
How field service management software for broadband can benefit your business:
- Improve reliability of data entered by field technicians
- Issue work order reports faster
- Seamlessly connect with your ERP/CRM/accounting software
- Reduce Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), disputes and risks of not getting paid
- Include services and related consumables on the same invoice
- Manage inventory and track parts replacement
Select a solution that integrates seamlessly
Field service management software for telecoms offers a large range of customisable options for managing business processes in the most optimised way, backed by proactive support teams to recommend the best settings for your organisation.
To eliminate human error, the software generates fully customisable forms that ensure the data being logged is correct so no mistakes through manually inputting information from one source to another.
The best field service management software for broadband is one that is flexible and scalable to meet the growing needs of your organisation as it expands and is one that seamlessly integrates with your existing information system.