Technology

Trailblazer '23: Fiber-To-The Home's Door-To-Door Super Seller

Fiber to the home infrastructure and solutions is predicted to more than double, from $20 billion today to $53 billion in six years or so. Fiber Fast Homes ceo Scott Sampson has mapped out a fast-track to dominance.

Technology

Trailblazer '23: Fiber-To-The Home's Door-To-Door Super Seller

Fiber to the home infrastructure and solutions is predicted to more than double, from $20 billion today to $53 billion in six years or so. Fiber Fast Homes ceo Scott Sampson has mapped out a fast-track to dominance.

February 24th, 2023
Trailblazer '23: Fiber-To-The Home's Door-To-Door Super Seller
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For sheer prescience, it's hard to top an almost 20-year old bible of experience economy insight – Barry Schwartz's The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less. Its premise is that consumers like choices filtered and curated to suit their personal range of preferences. Too many choices, in fact, work negatively. An explosion of options only makes us anxious, increasing the likelihood we'll believe we will choose wrong. Overabundance of choice, consumers feel, is smothering.

Like the old Mastercard slogan, priceless.

When it comes to home connectivity and its lightning-fast-evolving suite of communications, entertainment, room comfort, security, food prep, health, energy and water management applications, rules of Paradox-Of-Choice engagement are in full swing, with a notable twist. Mostly, people want what they want, don't necessarily know what that is – or are ambivalent about it, but are acutely struck when something they do want becomes conspicuous in its absence.

They want a product. But, equally, they want service galore to help them understand the product they really want, and will pay for.

At a moment in time – indefinite as it may turn out to be – where homebuilders and their partners are striving to activate every possible trigger of motivation for prospective homebuyers to choose now as the moment to buy, reliable, fast internet and everything – yes, everything – that rides on its back is, well, like running water, electricity, and other utility hook-ups.

Does a homeowner really want all the choices, or is what he or she really wants is a selection of the right choices for 40% less the cost each month than all of them?" says Scott Sampson, CEO of Jacksonville, FL-based Fiber Fast Homes, a fiber to the home Internet service provider that partners with developers and builders to provide fiber Internet at Gig speeds.

That paradox – a consumer who's not sure exactly what they want, don't want, and wants to pay for and a homebuilding organization sales associate who wants only to have the exact right reply to a potential buyer's question and need, whatever it may be – amounts to two classic "pain points," each of which is the basis of a very big business opportunity.

  • One pain point concerns a homebuilder's core competence and most important objective, to build a home and match it to a willing and able customer.
  • A second pain point centers on what connectivity quality, reliability, and realm of solutions a new-home's residents expect, and how best to get what they want, need and pay for.

The two pain points relate, but they're not the same.

Homebuilders tell us, 'our sales teams, they don’t know enough to talk this through with homebuyer prospects,'" says Sampson, whose firm Boston Omaha launched last year with a charter deal with Dream Finders Homes, which has been rolling out Fiber Fast across its multiple regions. “We’ll help train  the sales people to talk with homeowners about the product as a value-add to the main-event product that they’re selling, which is the home. They're able to say, 'by the way there’s fiber internet here, and you don't pay for it because it's part of the HOA.' If you put in fiber internet, that will differentiate you from the builders nearby. These days, it can make your homes sell over theirs."

Fiber Fast Homes builds out the fiber infrastructure before builders break ground on homes by installing conduit into the electric/water trench during community development. Once community development is complete, it installs fiber through the conduit, and then completes the installation to the new home through another conduit to the side of the home.

The approach that sets Fiber Fast apart is  that we were going to work with builders and from the front to the back," says Sampson. We’re not just looking at the homeowner’s being the customer. We’re also looking at the developers as the customer. When you’re getting in the open trench, and staying out of their way. Internet shouldn’t be the problem they have to deal with. It should just be something that gets done without their thinking about it. That’s always been our task."

Once that pre-move-in development groundwork is complete, the Fiber Fast team sets its focus on the second pain point, a household's Paradox of Choice. By taking on the job of helping homeowners navigate and access a personalized array of Internet and Internet of Things services, the value to both consumers and to builder and developer customers spools up.

What sells all of our customers was the customer service," says Sampson, whose goal for Fiber Fast is to be serving 3,500 builder-developers' homes by the end of this year, and 20,000 by year-end 2025. "The concierge department, which is our white glove service, is going to channel the customer's needs, complaints, questions to us, not the homebuilder, and that's what we're there for. We tell our people, 'always talk to the customer like you talk to your mother. Take your time, and take time to listen.'

To scope that opportunity – especially when live, work, play etc. from home looks like one of the post pandemic era's defining trends – the estimated size of the U.S. fiber to the home market in 2022 was an estimated $20 billion, and that's in a market where just two in five U.S. homes have access to fiber to the home, according to Future Market Insights.

By 2029, an estimated CAGR of 14.7% takes the U.S. market size to $53 billion, much of that propelled by new residential development infrastructure:

Increasing construction and rising demand for high speed interned in the United States are some of the major factors fueling the growth of fiber to the home market. – Fiber To The Home Market, Future Market Insights

In mid-2020, just as Covid lock-downs started to relent, Boston Omaha reached out to Sampson with a challenge that would set both his and the company's direction in this emerging marketplace. His worklife dates back to his adolescence as a roofer, and he spent early adulthood selling internet door-to-door, segueing into technology, engineering, management, even rocket science.

Here's how Sampson relates the Fiber Fast genesis story:

The first project Boston Omaha gave me was to sell an unnamed product with no business plan. They had a relationship with Dream Finders Homes. Now, as luck would have it, Dream Finders had their regional presidents meeting  scheduled in August 2020, in Boulder, CO, and I lived in Denver. The Boston Omaha challenge came across like this:  'You’ve got three months to write up a business plan, product, etc. and you get one hour to meet with their division presidents.' I had to pitch them a product with no company name. I got together with an outside marketing firm, and we brainstormed a deck, and I sold them to the point where they wanted to do one project, Wilford Preserve in Jacksonville. So, we launched. Within about 36 weeks after we launched Wilford, Dream Finders Homes CEO, Patrick Zalupski asked me, ‘what do you want next?’ And the typical sales guy in me said, 'I want it all.'  And he said, 'Okay. And I think, oh dear, he said ‘Yes.’  Uh oh, now what? At that time I had 1 employee at the time we started to build down in Wilford, then by the end of the year we built it up to 4, and now we have 40."

The future of Fiber Fast, in Sampson's vision, is like the future of the Internet itself, and to glimpse at that future he talks and learns from people much younger than himself.

I was talking with a University of Nevada Las Vegas student last week, a 21 year old, and I asked him, 'Which is more important, water or the internet?' and without missing a beat, he says, 'The internet, because I can use that to find water and order it online.' I have watched this industry grow from dial ups to OC-3s, to broadband, and now to fiber. I love calling the Internet growing in its teenage years. It’s still trying to find its direction, thinks it knows a lot, but, just wait til tomorrow and it’ll all change."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John McManus

John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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John McManus

John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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