New Directions

Telecommunications Projects

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT): 2012-Ongoing

In late 2011, KC&A was selected as the first consulting firm by MassDOT's Office of Real Estate Acquisition Development (OREAD) to evaluate their current fiber optic and cell tower rates. The project involved reviewing all of OREAD's customs and practices, including MassDOT's Uniform Access Procedures, review of all contract documents (leases, licenses, etc.) for major highways (e.g., Massachusetts Turnpike) and cell site locations, evaluation of potential litigation situations and a complete assessment of emerging telecommunications technologies such as the iconoclastic IPhone that are transforming the industry—and the role of government agencies as landlords for cellular and fiber optic facilities.

KC&A surveyed other government agencies throughout the United States to determine the most effective processes, contract documents, rates and in kind contributions that are being received. We then developed a report with recommendations in all areas that was adopted by OREAD at the end of 2012. The recommendations included:

  • Development of a "One Stop Shop" where telecommunications carriers (cellular and fiber optics) can go to obtain all information, forms and speedy disposition of their applications to place facilities on MassDOT rights-of-way or other properties
  • Standard contract forms, e.g., master agreements for the cellular carriers that further expedite the review process
  • Competitive, fair market value rates for all types of fiber optic and cellular occupancies
In 2013, OREAD and MassDOT are in the process of implementing the programs.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA): 2012-2013

MBTA is a sister agency of MassDOT, with a Board of Directors comprising the same members. MBTA's real estate arm, Transit Realty Associates, selected KC&A in late 2012 to develop a set of cellular and fiber optic that would be complimentary with those developed for OREAD and MassDOT. The major reason for the assignment: The agencies have overlapping properties, particularly in the Greater Boston Area.

After a review of current MBTA rates and practices, and using the same survey data, KC&A was able to develop the new set of fiber optic and cellular rates for TRA in less than two months. MassDOT and MBTA now provide a consistent and united market presence to interested parties in the telecommunications industry.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA): 2012

KC&A was selected by SEPTA in early 2012 to evaluate their existing fiber optic transactions and rates. The process was the same as that for MassDOT and other clients: Review of all existing agreements, correspondence with carriers, survey of other agencies and development of rates and other recommendations. SEPTA is now in the process of implementing those changes.

National Park Service/Golden Gate National Recreation Area: 2013

KC&A was selected as a sub-consultant to Integra Realty Resources (IRR), a major international appraisal firm, to assist them in developing fiber optic rates for conduit and fiber located in GGNRA rights-of-way that are located at both ends of the Golden Gate Bridge. We developed one set of rates for review and adoption by the NPS/GGNRA; IRR developed another set based on traditional appraisal methodologies. The client is using the joint recommendations for negotiations with AT&T and AboveNet for fair market rates at this classic "Choke Point" for northern entry into San Francisco.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT): 2012-Ongoing

Solar Development

In a departure from telecommunications-related consulting, KC&A was asked by MassDOT to develop concepts for solar development in the State. We developed two strategies that are being actively considered by MassDOT management:
  • Use of various MassDOT properties for placement of large-scale solar panel farms. The long-term goal of this strategy is to develop 500 MW of clean energy that will make MassDOT one of the leading sustainable transportation agencies in the country
    An action plan for development of a microgrid at one or more MassDOT facilities. A micro grid is a localized grouping of electricity generation, energy storage, and loads that normally operates connected to a traditional centralized grid (the commercial power grid). This single point of common coupling with the power grid can be disconnected. The micro grid can then function autonomously. Generation and loads in a micro grid are usually interconnected at low voltage. From the point of view of the larger, commercial grid operator, a connected micro grid can be controlled as if it were one entity. Micro grid generation resources can include fuel cells, wind, solar, or other energy sources. The multiple dispersed generation sources and ability to isolate the micro grid from a larger network would provide highly reliable electric power. Produced heat from generation sources such as micro turbines could be used for local process heating or space heating, allowing flexible trade-off between the needs for heat and electric power.

KC&A Wins Consulting Contract to Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) to Deploy Broadband Wireless Applications on California Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) Rights-of-Way

KC&A, was selected in late 2009 to assist the CCJPA in asking the wireless industry (includes WiFi, WiMAX, Satellite/Cell, mesh and other technologies) to install and maintain a broadband wireless system for CCJPA operational uses and applications, as well as use by its riders and other customers. A previous Request for Information (RFI), also developed with the assistance of KC&A, was issued in 2006. It elicited 11 proposals from a diverse group of vendors and wireless application providers—an excellent response from the industry. The next step was a proof of concept (POC) test that occurred in 2007.

Based on the findings from the tests, KC&A was then selected to provide consulting assistance to the CCJPA in drafting an RFP, coordinating activities with other stakeholders (e.g., the Union Pacific Railroad owns most of the 171 mile CCJPA rights-of-way; Amtrak owns the stations; Caltrans owns most of the rolling stock) and ensuring maximum vendor response.

Some of the services expected to be specified include:

  • Web browsing
  • Email access
  • VPN access
  • File upload and download
  • Best-effort VoIP
  • Best-efforts video and audio streaming
  • CCTV uploading with resolutions suitable for providing remote personnel actionable detail. (up to 3 concurrent channels)
  • E-ticketing and management of passenger information
  • Transmission of train diagnostic information.

The timeline for the wireless project envisions issuance of an RFP in the first quarter of 2010, selection of a winning proposer in mid-year and final award of a contract in the 4th quarter. Lastly, KC&A and the CCJPA believe the competitive bid process can be successfully emulated by transit and commuter rail agencies throughout the country.

Appraisals and Evaluations for Fair Market Value

During the last 10 years, KC&A has increasingly been tasked to determine the fair market value (“FMV”) of large and medium sized agencies’ dedicated rights-of-way (“ROW”) for occupancies that run along, over and under that ROW.  Too many transit agencies have neglected this area of potential revenue.  Too many occupants have not bothered to inform the agencies that they are in the ROW.  Too many licenses, leases and easements for fiber optic conduit, electrical and cable television cabling and all types of pipelines (hazardous and otherwise) have not been updated in years, if not decades. 

KC&A develops evaluations using Google Earth.  We do the needed federal and state regulatory research to ensure that litigation does not ensue from new rates. And finally, we provide our clients with a full set of rates, as well as other recommendations on how to develop and maintain their programs.  Recent clients include:  LACMTA, New York MTA (for New York Transit, Metro North Rail Road and the Long Island Railroad), Sacramento RT and TriMet (twice).

ONE Burbank (2006-2010)

Burbank Water & Power (BWP) has been at the forefront of fiber optic network development since the early 1990’s.  This municipal electric installed a large system to monitor its electrical transmission system in 1994. Excess capacity on that system, in this case spare dark fiber optic strands of fiber, was marketed to the “Big 3 Studios” (Disney, Warner Brothers and NBC/Universal) that are headquartered in the city.  That dark fiber leasing program now nets the city more than $1 million a year.  KC&A has been actively involved in the subsequent efforts of BWP to enlarge, expand and further develop this network, now known as ONE Burbank for the last five years. 

In 2005, KC&A assisted BWP in developing an operating arrangement with Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP).  This Coordinate Agreement laid out the terms and conditions for interconnecting the two municipal electric’s dark fiber networks together.  The major objective of the pact is to allow seamless communications, using state-of –the-art network technologies and applications, between the two service areas for major customers; in particular the “Big 3”, as well as the hundreds of productions houses that serve them.

In 2008, KC&A was tasked by BWP to begin looking at wireless services and applications (e.g., wireless meter reading and demand control) that could operate over towers and antennas connected to the existing BWP fiber optic network.  Interviews with the three major studios were conducted to determine their level of interest (extremely high). The Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Facility (largest in Southern California) was also queried as to their interest in interconnectivity and hospital industry-specific applications (again, extremely high interest levels).

In 2009, KC&A was hired to work with other consultants to provide assistance in developing ONE Burbank, the comprehensive fiber and wireless network that will provide service and applications to the above-noted industries and specific clients.  That effort will be ongoing through 2010 and beyond.