ALLO Communications is an award winning telecommunications company headquartered in Nebraska. The company offers fiber telephone, long distance, broadband, internet and television to residents and businesses in cities across Nebraska and Colorado.
What makes this company unique is that it leaves nobody behind, it connects every home and business. It works together with local experts to help customize its fiber network to meet the city’s needs.
“We have grown substantially in the past few years”, explains Al Schroeder, Director of Outside Plant Engineering. Mr. Schroeder has over 30 years of experience in fiber optic design. His colleague Brett Kunde, ALLO’s Data and Systems Integration Manager and GIS-expert, agrees. “Growing means we are continuously on the lookout for ways to cut costs.”
For its network design process, ALLO was initially assisted by network design partners which manually created the designs, afterwards the designs were modified by ALLO’s engineers. “This was a decent strategy in the past”, explains Mr. Schroeder. “But complexity grew together with our company. Consequently, the network designs required more and more tweaks before being fit to use. This approach was becoming too time consuming. And costs were soaring.”
Getting back ownership
“That is why we started looking for solutions to work faster and get more ownership over the design stage”, adds Mr. Kunde. “We met Kevin Wynne of Comsof Americas during the ISE Expo conference in Denver. Comsof presented several demos which showed the capabilities of Comsof Fiber, a software which automates the fiber network design process.”
“It looked promising, but the proof is in the pudding. Would this software be easy to integrate in our workflow? What about pricing? Is it user-friendly?”
“Today we do everything ourselves with the help of the software. This yields better designs from the start.”
Brett Kunde, ALLO Communications
“All aspects seemed to work for us”, says Mr. Schroeder. “Soon after purchase, some configurations were done and Comsof provided onsite training. Within a few weeks we were able to work autonomously with the tool, and with a minimum of support. Adoption was quick since Comsof Fiber is an intuitive software.”
Easy GIS data input
“For me, the biggest added value is the easy GIS data input, getting quick results, and tweaking the ruleset if needed, explains Mr. Kunde. “This was the bottleneck in our former workflow as we receive different input datasets from different communities. Our design partners needed to make this complexity work, while we were basically hoping for the best.”
“Today we do everything ourselves with the help of the software. This yields better designs from the start. It also allows us to change around some parameters. Such as being able to change demand requirements based on type of demand, for a school or an apartment building for example. Or changing a cabinet size on the fly, or the primary distribution point. Or changing the fiber cable parameters based on what is on hand. This way we get the customized results our customers expect. Taking control over the design process has been a huge time and money saver.”
“We would estimate cost savings to be around the 25 percent mark.”
Al Schroeder, ALLO Communications
“As a whole, we would estimate cost savings to be around the 25 percent mark, taking into account we no longer need to outsource. Even though it is difficult to pinpoint an exact number as evolving towards automation has been a process.”
ALLO plans to continue the rapid expansion of its fiber network coverage and hopes to leverage Comsof Fiber’s automation capabilities to do it quicker and with more precision.