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Stories From The Field: Telecommunications Emergency

Danella’s rapid response and strong relationships restore service to telecommunications customers a week earlier than expected.

On a Wednesday in July, Danella Line Services’ supervisor Chris Straubel received a call from a telecommunications company with an urgent need: A fiber cable in Philadelphia had been compromised, leaving the company’s client – and their customers – without TV and high-speed wireless service.

“Chris told me that Danella had a crew out near the area of the problem on South 18th Street, and that he would have them investigate,” the client remembers. “Fifteen minutes later, foreman Scott Saylor called me to say they had located the area and determined that a contractor had accidentally cut the cable with a knife.”

With the cause of the problem identified, a new hurdle loomed: The company would need a lane closure permit to access manholes and repair the fiber – a process that, in Philadelphia, takes up to 10 days. Danella submitted a permit application through proper city channels and marked it emergency, but a day later, had heard nothing back. With client complaints reaching a fever pitch, the telecommunications company couldn’t wait much longer.

This is when Danella’s strong relationships came into play.

“I reached out to another Danella department that has a close relationship with the Philadelphia Streets Department,” Straubel says. “Five minutes later I got a call from the city giving us the okay to proceed with the lane closure.”

Less than forty-eight hours after the initial call, work could begin.

Chris enlisted an EPA-approved contractor to pump out the manholes. They would arrive within hours. He also reached out to the Philadelphia Police Department, longtime Danella contacts. Their approval allowed Scott’s crew, with police escort, to move from an existing work site nearby to the urgent situation on 18th Street.

“Scott was on top of the situation. He made field decisions that helped facilitate the fiber pull and repair,” Chris remembers.

Before the pump truck arrived, Scott and his crew prepared the area for the pumper while the police escort re-directed traffic. Danella retrieved the customer’s splice cases and got them in the hands of the crew, who was able to access the fiber via two manhole locations and restore services by 3pm on Thursday.

For the company and its customers, who feared a week or more without TV and wireless, there was a sigh of relief – and a windfall of gratitude.

“I am grateful to the entire Danella team for resolving this issue promptly and professionally,” the telecommunications company contact said. “I’m especially grateful to Chris for his persistence in obtaining the permits and aligning all the necessary players needed for the different aspects of this task. And to Scott and his crew for their quick response on the day of the cut and their professional assistance in getting those splice cases to our splicers so restoration could begin. To your entire team, I say thank you for a job well done.”