Telefónica Spain has given a strong boost to its plans to review its pole plant, distributed throughout the national territory, and which exceeds 3.5 million. The poles are an essential infrastructure, together with the pipes, to carry the network of more than 400,000 kilometers of fiber or copper, from the central offices to homes, companies and even mobile site connections.
Under current plans, the operator is going to review the entirety of this part of the external plant, around one million poles per year between 2021 and 2023.
The company has also prepared itself internally to face these tasks. At a recent meeting of the Central Health and Safety Committee of Telefónica de España, made up of companies and unions, the operator explained that it has created a new management within the Operations and Network area, which will be in charge of carrying out all plant maintenance external, including supervision and maintenance of poles.
This department is also going to deal with issues related to the dismantling of the copper network, which is an activity linked to poles, and which is being replaced by fiber optics. This area is also responsible for updating the regulations to be applied to this type of infrastructure.
Union sources indicate that Operations will provide a list of the pole plant, where those marked in poor condition will be detailed, and the total number of poles reviewed last year, as well as the list of poles that are pending change.
In the event that the post is in poor condition, it will be marked with a red disc, and any activity will be paralyzed. In this sense, a work that contains a post with a red disk will necessarily entail the replacement of the post.
During the last year, the operator made an effort to proactively detect poles in poor condition, as well as tools to signal them, in order to reinforce the safety of the actions. In total, during the past year, the operator replaced more than 50,000 poles. The teleco, in addition, has taken advantage of the new deployments of fiber to replace the deteriorated poles.
The company has established internal safety regulations with greater prevention to avoid accidents during the repair of equipment at height. Any work must be carried out by at least two people. In addition, Telefónica has decided that these works be carried out with lifting platforms or with ladders that are not supported by poles.
The operator has also approved a new type of pole, made of fiberglass, which is replacing the traditional ones made of wood. These posts are more resistant to the impact of the weather, so the time of use will be longer, in addition to using a more sustainable material.
Telefónica Spain resolves around 80% of incidents with customers from the company’s own exchanges. With respect to the remaining 20%, half are resolved in less than 24 hours from their notification, but the other half require more tasks and time to resolve, due to their complexity or difficulties in detecting the origin.
In general terms, approximately, the teleco faces about 3,500 actions per month in the outside plant, linked to breakdowns in customer services.
At the same time, the company allocates more than 70 million euros a year for these external plant maintenance tasks, which are included in the investment section.