The Paradigm Shift
Tower companies and wireless providers are changing course on site and network planning, moving away from selecting the site first and then identifying fiber within close proximity. In tower placement, the distance between one location and another may not seem like much on a map — but the fiber availability (and costs) could be drastically different. This shift mirrors a broader change FiberLocator has seen in data center site selection and office and headquarters relocation where organizations start with data transport and data center requirements and narrow feasible sites based on network connectivity and accessibility. The change to start with network requirements rather than physical location preferences was driven largely by two factors – cost and bandwidth demand. Some companies were experiencing substantial costs and delays due to poor planning for their bandwidth needs including diversity and in some cases latency.
Those costly lessons learned where companies have had to reverse course late in the site planning process have spread and are affecting change throughout enterprises and now cell tower and DAS companies. The paradigm in tower and DAS placement has evolved from choosing where towers should be located strictly by demand and population to locating fiber and then aligning feasible locations with the maximum population to be served. It is far more efficient and cost effective in wireless backhaul to leverage existing fiber infrastructure than to construct new.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
FiberLocator has seen a substantial uptick in conversations with tower companies, network planners, commercial real estate professionals, data center migration specialist and the like – all looking to vet fiber optic infrastructure, physical diversity, provider diversity, latency and product availability. It seems the industry is applying a “measure twice, cut once” on connectivity and realizing that its data transport needs exceed their street address needs in many cases.