A Day in the Life: Keys for Successful Fiber OSP Deployment

Ride along with Sitetracker as we get out of the office and into the field!

It’s hot. It’s nearly 100 degrees here in McAllen, Texas as we get started with our day and we’ve already learned our first lesson of the day. When it’s hot you need to work fast and be efficient! But beating the heat isn’t the only lesson we picked up on our trip. Our Sitetracker team is on location with our friends from Hylan West to observe a large fiber rollout in the Rio Grande Valley area. We’ll be guided throughout our day by Tim Thomas, Construction Manager, as we travel site to site to review construction progress. Here are a few of the tips we picked up from them to keep in mind for your next fiber job.

Sweat the Small Stuff

We meet at the Hylan field office first to learn about how Tim and the broader project and operations team plan their work for each service area. As soon as we meet our hosts for the day, you can tell Tim pays extra-special attention to detail. One of our first jobs? Making sure there is enough ice in the cooler to keep us refreshed during the 100+ degree heat we’ll experience throughout the day. A small detail, but an important skill for someone in Tim’s position supervising multiple crews at the same time. As the office continues to grow the capacity for Tim to focus on other things will only increase.

Invest in Relationships

Tim’s attention to detail shows up again as we hop in the truck and head out to meet a crew in the field. During our drive to the construction site, Tim spots a potential site remediation issue at a segment a crew had been working at earlier that week. He quickly pulls over – stopping to set some safety cones out first – and then spends a moment to snap a few pictures to send his field crew contacts. Before leaving he makes two quick calls and is able to track down the crew who had worked on the site to address the issue. Tim knows that staying on good terms with the city is important to the overall buildout, and his close relationships with his field crews and contractors helped him get a resolution for the issue figured out quickly.

The team uses sonar to track the depth and location for the horizontal drill – and ensure the drill bit is not going to hit any utilities.

Safety First

As we arrive on site, one of the first things Tim does (after placing our safety cones of course) is a site inspection. Tim spends a lot of time on inspections making sure field crews are operating not only quickly but safely. On this particular day there is a section being bored underground near a high pressure gas line. The Texas Gas Service is also on site in case there are any questions or issues in the field that need to be answered quickly. Being proactive ensures the project doesn’t get stalled.

Prepare to Succeed

The relationships Tim has with his crews and contractors are only reinforced for us throughout the day–you can tell they respect him and value his input. During a site walk to take measurements, there is a discussion about moving an access point. The engineering team indicated the placement was on a street corner, but the construction team moved it a few feet to make it less disruptive to the existing infrastructure. Tim makes dozens of these types of decisions each week to ensure the project continues on pace. Later, we notice a number of utility poles near the site and ask why the team has opted not to do an aerial stranding, which would’ve been faster and avoided the need to dig near gas lines. Tim explained the challenges of access and that getting approval to hang cable would have taken much longer, making an underground dig a better option for this section. Clearly, knowing the job sites, the people you work with and the ins and outs of the locale you are working are all key aspects of the preparation needed for a successful rollout.

The team prepares the dig site to begin running conduit.

Tim and the Hylan West team – their field crews and contractors – are great representatives for what it takes to manage large scale fiber rollouts. Working quickly in adverse conditions, they put safety first and focus on doing the little things right. They spend time getting to know key people they need to collaborate with. And, they diligently prepare  in advance so that when it’s time to dig, decisions can be made quickly and efficiently. At Sitetracker, we’re honored to serve people like Tim and his team. We strive every day to make the lives of field, project, and operations teams easier, keep them connected, and power high-volume telecom projects that keep us all connected. Cheers to Tim and the Hylan team!

Are you interested in making your next fiber deployment more collaborative and efficient?
Learn more about Sitetracker here: https://www.sitetracker.com/solutions/telecommunications/