On-net buildings are properties where network service providers have physically built connectivity with fiber that they own. This means that tenants can move into the building and receive internet connections right away.
For properties to have internet connection, network providers need to build fiber into the building. This is why when selecting office space, many businesses want to specifically seek out on-net buildings. Otherwise, they will need to work with building management, or service providers directly to get fiber terminated into the space.
There might be one or several operators terminated into one building. If only one provider is terminated into a building, all of the tenants will use that provider for connectivity. If there are many operators in one building, tenants are able to choose, meaning operators must find other ways to differentiate themselves and remain competitive.
Types of Carrier Buildings: On-Net, Near-Net, and Off-Net Locations
It can be easier to understand what on-net locations are when compared to their counter parts near-net and off-net buildings. Network operators have fiber routes running through various cities, towns, etc. When one of those fiber routes runs directly into a building, that building is on-net.
If a fiber route runs down a street adjacent to a building, but not into the building, that building is considered near-net. This means that the building is in close enough proximity to the existing fiber route that the route could be extended relatively easily into that building to make it on-net.
In some instances, building management may have to pay to turn a near-net location into an on-net location. For larger contracts network providers will often pay the upfront infrastructure investment. Off-net locations are not directly terminated with owned fiber, or in close enough proximity to on-net locations to extend connectivity.
The Benefits of On-Net Buildings
On-net buildings are beneficial to both telecom providers as well as consumers seeking fast connectivity.
For network operators, on-net buildings are beneficial because they allow operators to generate revenue. It is not enough to simply build fiber down a street; it has to be terminated into buildings. This allows network operators to generate revenue through organizations seeking connectivity, as well as through potential partners looking to rent connectivity to service off-net locations.
The more on-net locations a provider has, the more competitive they can be, offering a greater range of serviceability. However, because building fiber is capital intensive, operators have to be strategic in where they choose to make this investment to get the highest ROI.
For consumers and organizations, on-net buildings are beneficial because they offer the connectivity and serviceability required to operate in a digital, cloud first world, without having to invest resources in extending fiber connectivity from near-net locations.
How to Locate On-Net Buildings
Historically, it has been challenging to locate on-net buildings, as many providers do not have an effective system of record to map all fiber deployments.
Network operators usually use Excel or KMZ files to track on-net and near-net deployments. However, these can easily become inaccurate if not updated and maintained regularly, and can lead to version control issues if the wrong iteration of the file is sent around.
There are some on-net building lists available online, but again, it is hard to determine if they reflect the most complete, up to date information.
Not having access to accurate on-net building lists is a challenge for both telecoms and consumers. When selecting a provider, organizations want information on where on-net and near-net infrastructure exists, especially if they have multiple offices throughout the country.
When these potential customers reach out requesting this information, network sales teams must be able to respond quickly. Telecommunications is a fast-paced industry. Spending too much time curating and sending on-net building lists could cause operators to miss out on sales opportunities.
This challenge with maintaining on-net building records has emphasized the need for dynamic on-net building lists.
Importance of On-Net Building List Databases
On-net buildings are what drive revenue for network operators. Therefore, they need to have a clear understanding of where this infrastructure exists. This allows operators to strategically plan fiber deployments, and enables them to respond to RFPs and inquiries from potential customers promptly.
More than just knowing where on-net infrastructure exists, network operators need these lists to be informed by building intelligence, competitive insights, and market data. This is essential to making decisions about where to build fiber connectivity. For example, if one building already has multiple providers terminated, it might not be the best location to invest in for maximum ROI.
As fast internet connectivity and bandwidth capabilities become increasingly important to organizations, current dynamic on-net building lists are essential.