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In an effort to help fast-track telecommunications co-location applications, Transgrid Group has announced a world-first technology, which is expected to improve services for customers across Australia. 

A Site Discovery Portal developed by Transgrid’s contestable business, Lumea, will enable wireless network planners to access up to date data on tens of thousands of remote towers on the Transgrid Group network across New South Wales and the ACT. 

The portal can be used to remotely assess sites for suitability for co-locating wireless and mobile equipment on existing communications and electricity transmission towers. 

Executive General Manager of Lumea, Craig Stallan, said that innovation is at the heart of what Lumea does every day, helping enable Australia’s energy transition as it builds infrastructure fit for the future and beyond. 

“We listened to what customers were asking for and I’m delighted we can now help the telecommunications industry to work with this technology which will reduce costs and delays and allows communities to enjoy the benefits of network upgrades sooner,” Mr Stallan said.  

“It is all about bringing a modern way of co-locating and streamlining the process so customers can search smarter and work better.”

Lumea currently has over 130 communications towers and Transgrid Group has 37,000 high voltage towers throughout New South Wales and the ACT that can be used for co-location of wireless and mobile equipment.

Mobile network providers, emergency services and Internet-of-Things (IoT) providers use these towers for their network equipment.

Lumea General Manager of Telecommunications, Susan Huggett, said that the Site Discovery Portal gives planners access to tens of thousands of remote sites at their fingertips without needing to leave their desk.

“The portal provides up-to-date data so they can see a site as it currently appears, helping reduce projects costs and lead times, which means they can reach milestones in days rather than months. It is a gamechanger,” Ms Huggett said. 

“In the past, the process of finding suitable towers to colocate telecommunications equipment, assessing the site and submitting applications required a team to go on-site to remote locations but now that can all be done remotely.” 

Users can assess potential sites in the portal and view structural impacts of proposed equipment on towers. This information can then be used to submit an application within the portal for space on a tower.

“Being able to achieve true speed to market is cutting edge. This is going to change the way we do business not just for Lumea but for the whole industry as it’s something that has never been done before.”

The technology also makes the process safer by removing the need for people to travel to remote sites for the life of the project.

“As part of this solution, Lumea’s towers will be regularly scanned by drone so we can check for tower condition and equipment installation accuracy. This has benefits around maintenance, data quality and revenue assurance.

“The benefits from this portal will flow to communities as it will enable more high voltage transmission towers to be used to improve telecommunications coverage, particularly in regional areas.

“From antennas supporting radios for police officers and Rural Fire Service volunteers to faster data for things like telehealth services and reducing mobile phone blackspots, this technology will make a lasting and positive difference.” 

Featured image: A Lumea telecommunications tower. Image credit: Transgrid.

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