Utilities collocation has great potential, needs streamlining

Washington, D.C., Aug. 22, 2006 — Utility facilities — communications and transmission towers, especially — represent a great source of wireless siting opportunities, and many utilities are engaging in this business with carriers. However, utility practices and procedures need unifying and streamlining to improve this business relationship.

In response to member requests for information on how to improve collocation business practices, the United Telecom Council created a research report entitled Roadmap to Best Practices for Utility Wireless Collocation. The report explores streamlining collocation business processes and establishing industry consensus in order to make the niche utility collocation business more attractive to wireless carriers. It aims to define current practices and give utilities practical steps for traditional tower siting while considering how emerging technologies are likely to change the business and offer new opportunities with commercial providers.

As utilities continue to look for ways to make the best use of existing assets, wireless collocation is an option that many are considering. Learning from other successful utility programs provides a way for industry members to jumpstart their own collocation businesses. Invaluable input from wireless carrier companies adds unique perspectives on how to improve the business proposition. The report analyzes the practices currently in use for the benefit of utilities operating collocation businesses or looking to get started.

The report was sponsored by WCP Utilities, an infrastructure aggregator that brings utility and real estate companies together with wireless carriers to develop, license and manage existing structures for the placement of wireless cell sites. The report was driven by and developed in conjunction with UTC’s Wireless Business Opportunities Committee, a collection of members with direct interest in this topic.

Among the topics covered in the report: helping carriers with “speed to market,” the area where utilities need the greatest improvement to increase their collocation opportunities; exploring utilities’ pricing advantages over collocation competitors; the various business practices in place across various types of utilities, and based on zoning, terrain and other factors; and how new technologies will create both new challenges and new opportunities in siting.

Contact UTC Research to order the report or for more information at 202.872.0030 or research@utc.org.

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