What is OTMR?
One-touch make ready (OTMR) is a process that would allow one contractor to perform all (or most) necessary make ready moves in a single pole visit.
Without one touch, each attacher send their own contractors into the field to move their cables or equipment. Because this method involves a multitude of costly ride-outs, large-scale projects are lengthy and expensive endeavors. It's not uncommon to see poles halfway through the transfer process for months or even years.
Proponents of a one touch make ready solution believe that allowing a single entity to perform both power and communications make ready moves speeds up broadband deployment project deadlines. In addition to this advantage for consumers, those in favor of OTMR also claim that it would drastically increase the competition between internet service providers which would likely drive prices down and improve internet performance across the country.
Why aren't we using one-touch make ready?
Unfortunately, one touch make ready isn't as simple in practice as it is on paper.
The OTMR contractor must be agreed upon by all pole owners and attachment owners. This presents quite an issue, as incumbent attachment owners wouldn't be able to send their own crew to move their existing attachment. This can also be tricky for those attaching in a new region—they'd have to accept whichever contractor the pole owner and incumbent previously agreed on.
The power company's vote does carry more weight since poor construction in the power space can cause thousands to lose power, and, in the worst case, be deadly. As wonderful as gigabit internet is, there isn't a power company in the country who would sacrifice the safety or reliability of their grid to achieve it.
A further obstacle in the adaptation of OTMR comes from incumbent service providers. It's in the best interest of the internet providers already attached to have as little competition as possible on a pole. This means that a one touch make ready solution—however safe, transparent, and efficient—would likely cause increased competition and decreased revenue.
Does that mean one-touch make ready isn't going to happen?
Not quite. With the promise of 5G and shorter FCC attachment timelines looming, pole owners, incumbent service providers, and third party attachers are probably more receptive than ever to a solution. However, it will have to be majorly re-tooled and proven to be profitable before it becomes widely adopted.
Though we don't know exactly what the future of OTMR holds, we're pretty sure it will involve an attachment portal for pole owners, a data collection system that allows all parties to access accurate, defensible data, and make ready construction teams that are open to collaboration with all invested parties.
In our next article, we'll propose a new standard and theorize potential solutions to the biggest arguments against one touch make ready.