Southwest U.S. Communications Company

After a Southwest U.S. communications company upgraded to fiber lines, DRG was called in to help remove old copper drop wires from homes and businesses in several states, saving the communications company money while removing unnecessary pole load.

The Challenge

Utility equipment and technology is ever-advancing. From the introduction of wooden utility poles in the 1800s to today’s high-speed broadband connections using fiber, bringing electricity and internet to homes and businesses has looked significantly different over time. When new equipment is introduced, utility and communication companies want to remove outdated equipment to make way for new innovations.

A Southwest U.S.-based communications company has made significant investment in technology upgrades recently, installing high-speed fiber lines in several states. In some areas, the old communication service drop wires (copper drop wires) used to connect homes and businesses to the internet needed to be removed to decrease pole load. Because of the scope of the project and the expertise needed to complete the work, the communications company partnered with Davey Resource Group (DRG) for the wire removal.

The Solution

DRG’s Communications Construction team originally conducted a pilot project for copper drop wire removal in 2021. The crew consisted of two members that would identify and safely remove old and unused copper drop communication lines owned by the company. The success of that pilot resulted in a wider effort that started in February 2022. By 2023, the crew had grown from 2 people to a team of 17.

In mid-2022, the communications company expanded DRG’s project scope to include joint-use audits that identified which utility-owned poles were being used for the communications company’s equipment. By identifying and then removing the unused copper drop wire from utility-owned poles, DRG helped the communications company save on pole rental costs. Other Davey teams, including the Field Services, Eastern Utility, and Make-Ready Engineering teams, joined the project to help with the multi-service efforts spanning across multiple states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida.

DRG was able to integrate data gathered from the wire removals and joint-use audits across multiple GIS platforms and suggested several improvements to processing the data that were implemented by the communications company.

The Results

In 2022, the teams removed copper drop wire from 26,000 poles and audited 30,000 poles. The next year, the communications company designated DRG the vendor of choice, expanding the project scope even further. In 2023, the crews removed copper drop wire from 54,000 poles and audited 1.2 million poles.

The partnership between DRG and the communications company will continue to grow in subsequent years. The project is expected to expand to 15 states in 2024.

With DRG’s help, the communications company is able to continually prepare for and upgrade to the latest advancements in technology, helping them to bring fast and reliable internet to their customers.

In mid-2022, DRG began performing joint-use audits that identified which utility-owned poles were using the communication company’s equipment.
In 2023, DRG removed copper drop wires from 54,000 poles.
Through this service, DRG is able to help the communications company continually prepare for and upgrade equipment to deliver fast and reliable internet to their customers.
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