TelCell upgrading its key cell sites

POND ISLAND–TelCell will be carrying out what the company says is major upgrades of key cell sites in the areas of Middle Region, Defiance, Sucker Garden and parts of Guana Bay and Dawn Beach.

From Friday, June 16, cell sites in these areas were connected to the company’s fibre optic network and will no longer be connected via Microwave links, the company said in a press release on Thursday.

The immediate result will be better mobile voice and data connections for TelCell mobile voice and data customers in these areas, especially during inclement weather.

TelEm Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kendall Dupersoy said plans have been in the making for many months to have all cell sites connected via the more efficient fibre optic cables. However, several factors, including problems with trenching works resulted in a delay.

“Things came to a head during the recent bad weather, when again mobile communication in these areas was very poor because of the weather conditions, leading to complaints from subscribers,” Dupersoy said.

He said instructions were given to make the fibre connections to the cell sites a priority, especially since we are currently in the hurricane season. “I was very pleased to learn at the weekend that Zone 1 and Zone 3 had completed their tasks of delivering the fibre cables to these cell sites, using in some cases some very ingenious means, so that the Network Core team could make the necessary connections,” Dupersoy added. He said the days of poor weather, also meaning poor service should be a thing of the past and he praised all those involved in completing this very important project.

Zone 3 Team Leader Steve Simmons said his team had to sub-duct fibre from the TelEm Group Substation in Belvedere to Middle Region and Defiance and also from Guana Bay to Sucker Garden Road. “We had a lot of issues with trenching and getting permission to trench to get the cables where we wanted them, but in the end we were able to use some ducts owned by St. Maarten Cable TV and with the assistance of Cable TV staff we were able to finish the cabling part of this project very quickly,” Simmons said.

He thanked his Cable TV colleagues for their help.

Zone 1 Team Leader Elroy Hughes also indicated that the routing of fibre cables from the company’s Earth Station on Pond Island to the TelCell cell site on Umbrella Road, Sucker Garden, was no walk in the park either – even with the assistance of a sub-contractor. “The same as Zone 3, we were responsible for sub-ducting, blowing, splicing and generally having the cable delivered to the site for connection,” Hughes said.

He said his part of the project began in January and was only recently completed, noting that since the connection to the fibre cable was made last Friday, mobile subscribers in and around the areas of Arch Road, Pond Island, Becky Hill, Sucker Garden and a part of Guana Bay Road, should be experiencing much better mobile voice and data service.

The Leads of Zone 1 and Zone 3 credited the network core team and team leader Ralph Boirard with making the final connections of the fibre cable to the cell sites, at the same time disconnecting the microwave links.

Boirard said his task and the task of his team were the easy parts, judging by the many issues the Zones had to resolve before the new fibre cables were delivered to their sites.

Now that these cells sites are connected to the fibre network they will operate a lot more efficiently and will be easier to maintain and repair. They will also make the service less vulnerable to lightning strikes than the microwave equipment was.

The TelEm Group Departments overseeing the completing of the fibre to the cell sites project is Network Core and Outside Plant, headed by Managers Elvis Lacroes and Marco London, both of whom expressed satisfaction in having a hand in improving the mobile voice and data experience for TelCell subscribers.

Source: The Daily Herald