Implications of Communications Equipment Mounted in the Electric Space on Distribution Poles

Utilities are compelled to comply with the provisions of the Pole Attachments Act and make their poles available to telecommunication companies. Accordingly, the companies pay reasonable rates for those attachments that are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The traditional presence of cable and telephone lines and equipment on the poles places an additional burden on the utility from a physical design perspective, but utilities have become adept at designing pole systems to withstand the additional loading caused by this equipment. However, transmitters for fixed wireless like, WiFi and WiMAX, are typically placed at the top of utility poles, introducing a grounded conductor in the primary space. This affects the CFO rating of the structure and introduces a new design problem for utilities in addition to the physical loading considerations. In addition, there are work safety concerns stemming fronm having a grounded conductor in the electrical space and the electromagnetic radiation from the transmitters is a may also be a concern for utility crewmen who work on the poles. The DSTAR project studies the impact of pole-top fixed wireless nodes on the lightning protection of pole systems and examine the issues surrounding utility crew safety.

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