Managing and maximising the BT Reach rooftop portfolio – An Arqiva case study

As one of the world’s leading telecoms businesses, BT delivers trusted communications services to millions of consumers and enterprises across the UK and beyond. From superfast broadband and mobile services to TV packages and phone lines, the London-based company offers everything its customers need to stay connected, productive and entertained.

To maintain its position at the head of the telecoms industry, BT must operate intelligently and with maximum efficiency – and Arqiva is proud to help make that possible.

The challenge

Like many organisations of its size and type, BT has a large portfolio of physical assets – including its all-important telephone exchanges – where site sharing is managed by Arqiva. With over 1,000 developed BT sites currently under Arqiva management, this portfolio is essential in allowing the organisation to deliver its services to the standards its customers have come to expect.

Managing and getting the most from such a vast collection of assets is a colossal task – even for an organisation of BT’s stature. As well as designing, configuring and operating this critical infrastructure, the company must be able to monetise its sites effectively.

What’s more, all of this must happen in addition to BT’s usual day-to-day responsibilities; as the UK’s largest provider of fixed-voice and broadband, there will always be millions of customers to serve – and that demands significant time and resources.

This is where Arqiva’s telecoms expertise and extensive portfolio management experience come in.

The solution

Since 2000, Arqiva has actively managed BT’s extensive telephone exchange portfolio, with the main objective being to grow Site Share revenue across that estate. Another aim was to reduce the impact this kind of Site Share activity was having on the organisation’s internal resources – we set out to save time and reduce spending across the board.

Arqiva now manages most parts of this portfolio from a Site Share perspective, covering aspects such as: design and build, planning, health and safety, sharer licencing, licencing reviews and site access control. We also manage landlord-tenant relationships to ensure all dealings between BT and its Site Share partners are smooth and efficient, and handle the distribution of sharer income.

At the start of this relationship, we gave significant attention to ensuring a high standard of installation. The goal here was to protect each building asset we worked on, while minimising the impact on BT’s core business activities. The results of this focus have been clear - we’re confident that our rooftop design-and-build standard is the highest in the industry.

A single port of call

The smooth and simple relationship we keep with BT has been crucial to the success of this project. The customer’s assets are overseen by a dedicated portfolio manager here at Arqiva, meaning there’s a single port of call when any questions or concerns arise.

Regular meetings give us a chance to report on the portfolio’s financial performance and address any ongoing issues, giving the team at BT complete peace of mind that everything is as expected.

Obstacles to overcome

A project of this size doesn’t come without challenges. Our first task was to gather existing site information – we needed a full understanding of BT’s infrastructure before the project could proceed. We also had to agree with BT on a suitable design standard for installation work, and determine the best way of engaging with the BT team; their support and engagement has always been crucial, despite this not being business as usual.

With decades of experience in the telecoms sector and a complete understanding of the challenges that come with managing such a large asset portfolio, Arqiva has been perfectly placed to help BT achieve its objectives with this project. We’ve worked closely with BT as a partner from day one to overcome various obstacles and ensure the best possible results; results we’re hugely proud of today.

Results

Arqiva has developed a close relationship with BT over the years and the trust we have built has allowed us to handle all site share responsibilities effectively, allowing them to focus on their core business.

Since our work began back in 2000, we have successfully developed around 1,000 sites, and manage another 380, resulting in BT’s existing sharer base growing from approximately 500 licences to around 2,000, boosting sharer revenue significantly. What’s more, in over 17 years of rooftop management and through hundreds of individual build projects, there has never been a major health and safety incident.

Having established such an efficient way of meeting BT’s asset management needs, we continue to work closely with the goal of maximising revenue and minimise hassle.

Don Pallant - Business Manager, BT Wholesale:

“Arqiva has performed its contractual obligations, delivered to BT expectations and maintained at all times a good and professional business relationship.

The expectations are that this relationship will continue and expand for the benefit of both parties"

Chris Rose - Head of Asset Management, Arqiva: 

“Arqiva’s experience and expertise in site share has been crucial in being able to support BT in developing its assets and deliver significant revenue growth for both parties.

A key enabler to this has been the development and nurturing of a close and constructive working relationship with BT Wholesale at both the operational and commercial levels"

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