Solving the Telecom Problem feat. David Rottmayer

Ep.4 |
December 6, 2021

Not many people know telecom like David Rottmayer, our fantastic guest for the fourth 4M Utility Strategy Podcast episode!

David Rottmayer has been in the telecommunications industry for 43+ years and has designed, built, and operated wireline and wireless globally. He is a recognized trainer and expert in FTTx design and deployment, having been an early leader in deploying these technologies. His background lends to quickly understanding both the technical and business—financial and product—needs within telecommunications.

In our conversation, we talked about the rise of telecommunication as an essential utility over the past few decades, and how engineering, business, and regulation shaped the way fiber optic networks have been deployed. High-speed internet is a must-have, but it also comes with significant side effects due to the quick rollout, from undocumented lines and incorrect as-builts to accidental utility strikes. David gave his seasoned perspective on the logistical and budgeting pressures on utility management, and explained why engineering and accurate mapping are critical to provide effective and reliable telecommunication service.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Key Takeaways

We need to prove the value of utility documentation to move beyond inaccurate as-builts.

After thousands of hours of engineering and millions of dollars of investment, the responsibility for precise redlining usually falls onto one or two subcontractors on the side of a road or in the middle of a field, under pressure to finish the job on a tight schedule and budget. If no one takes responsibility for accurate utility mapping using the correct tools and knowledge, then no one can trust the maps. We'll be stuck with a choice between erroneous as-builts and reliable but expensive and time-consuming utility locates. But properly engineered GPS-referenced utility maps generate enormous value if stakeholders know they can trust them.

Today's end-users want to pay less for more service, so we have to use technology to lower our operating costs.

Utilities always underestimate the increasing demands of tomorrow's user. But they can't ramp up capacity at customers' expense if it leaves them with expensive utility bills. At the same time, reckless expansion of telecom networks is a notorious risk factor for utility damages. The only way to satisfy the users and do due diligence is to plan our utility networks more efficiently for the end service, and with better foresight and cooperation between stakeholders for safety standards.

Co-hosts: David Horesh (Director of Marketing) and Ophir Wainer (Director of North American Business Development)

Just in case you missed it, in our previous podcast we had a fantastic talk with Hugh Seaton about engineering and infrastructure innovations.

And stay tuned! On our next utility strategy podcast, we're hosting Gary Huffman!

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