Don't Let Aerial Cables Tangle You Up
Eliminating unnecessary aerial cabling is a no-brainer in hurricane zones -- and a best practice regardless of environment.
Having just completed a site survey of a campus, and with the start of hurricane season here in Florida only a few months away, I'm reminded of the need to address trouble spots before they turn into real problems.
I'm thinking particularly of aerial cabling -- certainly a source of concern during high winds, but in need of attention regardless of environment. In fact, I'd just list it as a concern in general.
Look around, and you're sure to spot examples of aerial cabling gone wrong. This often happens as organizations install traditional wireline (anything using copper outside plant) and broadband (coaxial) services on demand, when and where needed. Then the organization moves the access point or disconnects the services, but leaves behind remnants -- straggler equipment in wiring closets and aerial cables attached to buildings.
I saw numerous instances of this during that site survey I mentioned. Coaxial cables, originating from nearby telephone and power poles, attach to buildings and route along their exteriors. The cable routes span two floors, and enter into each classroom -- which means the use of multiple splitter/amplifiers.
In one area, a broadband cable leaves a pole, transitions from the top of the building downward, and then winds along the wall's outside edge at ground level (not buried) before entering an underground PVC conduit that spans 40 feet and turns upward into another building's roofline At the ground level, the conduit is cracked open at the point at which it reaches the other building. The coaxial cable exits the PVC and travels along the ground to another box with an amplifier and external AC power source.
Another building has a coil of coax strewn about a power enclosure. This cable then runs across a roof and dead-ends a couple of 100 feet away; it's not attached securely.
While I don't recommend randomly disconnecting aerial services, I do suggest mapping out cable routes from the ground to see whether or not they're actually in use. In the cases I've mentioned, the cables are no longer necessary, but remain energized. Removing them means calling in a qualified outside plant crew.
I also suggest contacting the service provider to arrange for an onsite evaluation. Set the expectation that the service provider will remove aerial plant that isn't needed any longer.
Whether or not you are in a hurricane zone, you know that downed wires in roadways, walkways, and easements pose as potential dangerous obstacles that will slow down first responders. While you may not be able to eliminate the use of aerial cabling, removing any that's no longer needed will reduce risk, minimize liability, and help you avoid unnecessary problems.