"Watch out for conflicts of interest."
Fiber Planners routinely helps clients determine the feasibility of fiber projects involving internal and municipal networks and dark fiber leasing.
For more aggressive fiber deployments involving cable TV services, competitive telecommunications services or Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH), we strongly recommend utilities retain an independent, third party consultant that has no vested interest in the outcome and will have no role in any resulting project. These are all potentially lucrative and successful businesses but also financially riskier. We have seen too many utilities retain a design firm to perform their feasibility study, then retain the same firm for the resulting construction turnkey project.
Not surprisingly, these firms frequently seem to endorse the largest, riskiest plans requiring the most design work! If the project later loses millions of dollars, the feasibility study suggests an exit strategy of selling to the CATV. In the power utility world, this is not a reasonable solution.
Unless we know we'll have no part in the subsequent design work, we turn down these opportunities because of the conflict of interest. (We do remain available as necessary to provide technical advice and cost estimate inputs to the utility or their consultants.)