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How Biden’s infrastructure bill will shake up utility and telecom companies

May 3, 2021

Touted by the federal government as the biggest public investment since the 1960s — when interstate highways were built and the Space Race was won — President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) aims to create millions of jobs to modernize the country’s crumbling infrastructure and kickstart the economy after recent pandemic-related downturns.

Of special interest to utility and telecom companies in the $2 trillion plan is the unprecedented $400 billion that has been specifically earmarked for infrastructure.

The plan is still in its early stages and is expected to face challenges along its road to enactment. That said, it’s been years since such a sweeping bill has generated this much buzz on both sides of the aisle, and experts predict that significant portions of the plan will be passed through the budget reconciliation process.

There is no doubt that, if the bill passes, utility and telecom companies could benefit tremendously. But to take full advantage of the situation, they will need to be not just ready to work, but ready to prove that they’re up to the task.

Breaking down the AJP

Let’s look at some of the quite staggering figures that the AJP projects to spend in the utilities and telecom sectors, and what it ultimately aims to accomplish with that money.

Water sanitization upgrade: The AJP will invest $45 billion to eliminate all lead pipes and service lines in drinking water systems across the whole country. That doesn’t include the additional $56 billion in grants and flexible loans to states, tribes, and territories to modernize their drinking, wastewater, and stormwater systems.

Telecoms upgrade: $100 billion is being earmarked to build out the nation’s high-speed broadband infrastructure to 100% coverage, including in remote and rural areas. The plan also commits to working with Congress to reduce the price of broadband.

Electrical grid upgrade and clean energy: To modernize the nation’s electrical grid, $100 billion will be invested in a more resilient grid system, as well as extending the production and investment tax credits to accelerate clean energy jobs and projects in wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy.

Other notable investments: $16 billion for plugging oil and gas wells, as well as restoring and reclaiming abandoned mines, and investing $10 billion for the development of a new Civilian Climate Corps to help conserve public lands and waters.

Impressive, right? But what does it really mean for utility and telecom companies?

More work for utilities and telecoms

Under Biden’s plan, the utility and telecom industries will benefit from more work, more jobs and more money. This will spur growth across both sectors, which will need to hire and manage a bigger workforce. But which companies will benefit exactly? Will it be yours?

Subcontractors of all shapes and sizes will need to be responsive to the requirements of the federal government and prove that they can be excellent partners to the large general contractors who will take on the lion’s share of the work. That means being able to follow strict regulations, hire and maintain top talent, meet deadlines, provide easy solutions to complex problems, quickly adapt to changing work orders, effectively demonstrate productivity, open up accountability and bookkeeping processes — which is to say modern, technologically-adept companies — those are the companies that will be able to join the campaign to rebuild America’s infrastructure for the benefit of their organizations, and all citizens.

Organizations that can’t demonstrate these capabilities will miss out on this enormous opportunity.

‍Are you ready?

A modern, forward-thinking infrastructure plan requires a modern, forward-thinking workforce, and it is unlikely that companies held back by inefficient legacy systems will be vetted through. Pen and paper, bad data, and process inefficiencies won’t cut it.

With a mobile data collection and workflow automation platform like Fulcrum, utility and telecom companies can start modernizing their workforce now and begin to increase their operational efficiency to improve productivity, communication, safety and compliance across the board.

The cloud-based Fulcrum platform helps you streamline processes and automate workflows, freeing up more time so your teams have the bandwidth to take on more of these projects as they multiply over the coming years. And as this work scales up, the location-aware mobile apps you build with Fulcrum will make it easy to communicate with and manage teams out in the field.

And with Fulcrum, the data your teams collect and share is accessible to the back office in real time, and the platform seamlessly integrates with your existing systems to enable streamlined reporting — not just to help you manage your own projects efficiently, but to demonstrate your company’s safety and accountability to stakeholders all the way up the chain.

The future looks bright for utility and telecom companies. Don’t be left behind.