Damages to Underground Utilities Are Rising at an Alarming Rate

Posted by John Sarkis on Nov 20, 2020 10:41:08 AM

Underground utilities have become a vital aspect of local infrastructure across the United States. Even though they are critical to our everyday lives, little is being done to protect them.

If you’ve ever worked on any projects at home that required digging, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase call-before-you-dig. Contacting your local utility companies to mark out pipelines before you dig can be the difference between rupturing an underground gas line and not. People often underestimate how important it is to know where these buried utilities are, even when doing smaller tasks like installing a mailbox. According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) 2019 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report, it’s estimated that there were 532,000 excavation-related damages to underground utilities in 2019, which is a 4.5 percent increase from the 509,000 damages that occurred in 2018.

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Topics: Utilities

CALEA Compliance and Cost Reimbursement

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Mar 3, 2020 11:00:00 AM

Did you know that the costs of complying with federal, state and local subpoenas can be passed along to the requesting authorities?

The big providers of telephone, cable, and data services process hundreds of law enforcement requests for data every month. If you are a smaller provider, you may not get that many requests but when you do it’s a major disruption to your operation. We have had several requests from smaller clients to support them in their efforts to comply with subpoena requests so we thought we would summarize how the CALEA process works.

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Topics: Regulatory, Big Data

ATS Hires Andy Fleming as Utility Industry Senior Adviser

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Oct 23, 2019 12:36:36 PM

ATS is proud to announce that Andrew Fleming has been appointed Senior Adviser for the Utility industry. Andy is very well known in the industry and his professional experience spans nearly 50 years. Andy started his career as a Sales Engineer for the Sundstrand Corporation. He went on to become the District Sales Manager for Dresser Industries in the Northeastern US Region. In his most recent positions he represented Dresser Pipeline Solutions, Meters and Instruments.

Among Mr. Fleming’s professional affiliations are the American Gas Association, the Society of Gas Operators and the Northeast Gas Association. Mr. Fleming holds a BS in Industrial Distribution from Clarkson University.

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Topics: Utilities

CAF Performance Testing Podcast

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on May 30, 2019 2:08:05 PM

Take a listen to our latest podcast where Peter Mueller and Ryan Guthrie discuss the FCC order and many of the questions we've been hearing from carriers who have to comply by July 31, 2019.  

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Topics: stamper box, connect america fund, DA 18-710

CAF Testing Deadline is Looming - Are you Ready?

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Feb 15, 2019 10:07:47 AM

The July 1, 2019 deadline to begin CAF performance testing is just around the corner. The summer might feel like it will never be here (especially if you live in the Northeast), but it will be here before you know it. And with it, the requirement to have your testing program up and running according to the standards laid out in the FCC Order. While there have been many petitions for clarification on the order, there has been no indication by the FCC that they plan to delay the order beyond the original July 1, 2019 deadline.

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CAF Broadband Performance Testing

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Nov 14, 2018 1:41:13 PM

A few months ago the FCC released order DA 18-710 specifying the network performance testing and reporting required for ISPs who receive support from the Connect America Fund (CAF). The order is nearly 40 pages, but in this post we will summarize the requirements and provide some options for how ISPs can comply.

Who Must Comply?

Recipients of CAF high-cost universal service support, including:

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Topics: Regulatory, FCC, stamper box, connect america fund

Chalk Talk: Burstable Circuit Billing Accuracy - Part 2

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Oct 18, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Burstable billing, also known as 95th percentile billing, can present a variety of challenges if it's not regularly tested and monitored to ensure accuracy and completeness. While this type of billing arrangement is a nice benefit for customers and is often used as a marketing incentive, it can very easily lead to substantial revenue loss if any of the systems or procedures used to collect, mediate, and ultimately bill the customer are not functioning properly.

We recently posted 'Part 1' of this video series where our CTO Peter Mueller discussed how ATS' stamper box solution and data analytics help ISPs ensure accurate and complete billing for enterprise customers with burstable circuits.  In this video, Peter discusses how we help carriers quantify the common issues we uncover as well as their root cause and ultimately put controls in place to monitor and alarm when specific error conditions occur.  

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Topics: Chalk Talk, stamper box, 95th percentile billing, burstable billing

Next Time Call A 'Plumber'

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Aug 21, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Tell me if this story sounds familiar. You have an idea, a hunch, a theory that you'd like to 'flush' out. BUT, in order to do so, you need access to data from last month, maybe it's CDRs, billing data, smart meter data, etc. The emails, conference calls, and requests you'll have to make to get your hands on that data are daunting at best. But it's your data right? Why should you have to jump through so many hoops to get access to it? By the time you can even figure out who "owns" the data, you're onto the next task and your great idea is wasted, yet again.

Over the years, I can't tell you how many times the 'data access' issue has delayed or even completely stopped a project we've been involved with. Not because the idea didn't make sense or the business case didn't prove out, simply because getting the data from 'Point A' to 'Point B' was going to take too much time and effort. This is the definition of a 'data plumbing' issue. Big data tools are getting better, faster, cheaper, and more available every day. But the challenge of extracting and integrating data from a variety of sources has become an issue that organizations simply can't ignore. It's the ugly truth behind data analytics - it often takes more time and energy to extract, clean, and integrate the data than it takes to do the analytics itself.

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Topics: Telecom Data Analytics, Big Data, BigQuery, ESAP, Data Plumbing

Case Study - USF Traffic Analysis

Posted by Ryan Guthrie on Aug 14, 2018 12:19:51 PM

In February 2018, an up and coming VoIP service provider contacted us about performing a USF traffic analysis before their next quarterly filing. With the 'Safe Harbor' rate set at 64.9% and the quarterly contribution factor increasing to an all time high of 19.5%, D3 Unified Communications decided it was time to explore the option of performing a traffic study.

Within 1 week, we had a data sample from D3 and provided a free high level estimate of what their actual PIU would be if we completed the traffic study. Our quick analysis on the data estimated that their actual PIU would be less than half of the 'Safe Harbor' rate of 64.9%. The decision to perform the traffic study became an easy one to make as the savings were very evident.

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Topics: USF, Regulatory, Case Study, FCC

Will Nationwide Number Portability Be Easy to Implement?

Posted by Ken Babcock on Aug 10, 2018 12:02:03 PM

The general feeling within the telecom sector appears to be that Nationwide Number Portability (NNP) will be the greatest thing since the telephone was invented.

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Topics: national number portability, GUBB, PORC