Introduction

Planet Networks has been known by several different names since its founding in 1994. Yet, all that time, their mission has remained the same. They provide reliable high-speed internet service to clients throughout the northeast. The deployment of those networks has always needed to be fast, but here we look at how planet networks used IKE to remove a critical bottleneck in their network deployment process.

The humble roots of Planet Networks play a large part in their business philosophy. Starting with just three modems in the garage of an old firehouse, Planet Networks built their business on fundamental principles of honesty and integrity. It has led them to be a popular and ever growing partner in the communities they serve.

And what are they serving? Speed, plain and simple. As they put it, “Not everything is in life is meant to move at a snail’s pace.” So, Planet Networks provides their customers with high-speed fiber-optic internet that blows the previously low rural broadband bar out of the water. But speed isn’t just tucked away in the fiber for customers. Planet networks prioritizes speed in all parts of their process as they deploy networks.

The Challenge

As the global pandemic bore down, kids shifted to online learning, adults moved their work remote, and families searched for answers in telehealth. For Planet Networks CEO Robert Boyle, speed to market became more than a business proposition. It was a moral obligation for a community-oriented company.

When Planet Networks began to take a look at their field data collection processes, they quickly found out just how much of a bottleneck it was for them and their customers. In a newly remote world, slow and inaccurate manual field data collection processes on foreign-owned poles were slowing them down.

Before, fielders were using a stick to measure then recording the data on a spreadsheet. The process was painstakingly slow. Not just in the field, but across the workflow. Data from the field had to be digitized for pole load analysis, make-ready engineering, and new attachment permit requests. Often that data was incomplete or wrong. Someone would have to go back to the pole to correct it, costing valuable time.

The humble principles Planet Networks was built on would not abide a slow process that affected their customers, even if it was the status quo. Bob knew he needed to make a change if he was to maintain the integrity of Planet Networks and help the people in their community get connected.

36%

increase in connected homes

0

Recollects

5-7

min per pole collection

What Happened

Robert got in touch with IKE and quickly decided IKE was the answer to his problem. IKE would do for Planet Networks what it had done time and time again for attachers nationwide. It would get him attached to poles faster. Through a combination of fast collection and effortless digitization with the IKE Device and robust analysis and export in IKE Office, IKE would transform his process.

By the numbers, transform it did.

The implementation of IKE started with a 2 day in-person training that fueled a team of fielders to collect poles in 5-7 minutes and led to zero recollects. Continuous coaching keeps the field team in a constant state of improvement. From there, data was analyzed in the back office and scripted directly into new attachment permit requests. The accurate data therein allowed pole owners to approve requests without having to question the data. As Boyle tells it, “We love our IKE devices and IKE services. They prepare exactly what the pole owners want, including running O-Calc and formatting the data in the telco’s own spreadsheets.”

With approvals moving faster, so could construction. Using IKE, Planet Networks attached miles of fiber and get to revenue substantially quicker. The ultimate result, and the one that matters, was a 36% increase in the number of connected homes in Planet Networks service territory.

“We wouldn’t trade our IKE’s for anything else!”

Robert Boyle CEO, Planet Networks

Conclusion

Here at IKE, we know referrals are not given easily. So, one of the greatest compliments we can receive is when our customers recommend us to others. After the initial deployment, Planet Networks actively recommended our products and services to the contractors and pole owners with whom they work, unsolicited. That referral was perhaps the best testament to the success of their IKE deployment.

We wouldn’t trade our IKE’s for anything else!” ~Robert Boyle, CEO, Planet Networks

When you hold tightly to honesty and integrity as values, success becomes easy. Solving problems in you community becomes the honest thing to do. For example, in the face of a need for connection amid a global pandemic, Planet Networks removed a key bottleneck in their process and brought connectivity to thousands of people that may never have had it before.

It wasn’t IKE that gave people the connection they needed to get kids to school or families to doctors across rural New Jersey. Planet Networks did that. But IKE allowed them to do it faster than ever before. Efficient field data collection and back-office processes helped reduce the time needed for pole loading, make-ready engineering, and permit approval. “It has saved us huge headaches and positively impacted our bottom line.”

In the end, Planet Networks turned on service for their customers and revenue for the business faster than ever. That revenue meant planet networks could continue to address the ever-present issue of rural broadband access in New Jersey and beyond.

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