AT&T forced to migrate copper to fiber in areas of fire-ravaged California

copper wiring legacy networks
AT&T will replace copper lines damaged by the California wildfires with fiber. (Pixabay)

AT&T is going to replace copper wiring in parts of its California market damaged by fires due to drought conditions and high winds this past fall with fiber facilities.

Major damage to public facilities was caused five counties of Northern California: Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino due to the result of 21 reported fires.

As a result, Pacific Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T California activated its Network Disaster Recovery Team in California and began deploying portable cell sites, mobile command centers, hazmat response vehicles and charging stations.

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Later in December, the service provider filed an application for emergency authorization under Section 214(a) of the Communications Act and Section 63.63 of the FCC’s rules to suspend AT&T’s interstate telecommunications services until services can be rebuilt.

AT&T determined that due to the Nuns, Tubbs, Redwood and Sulphur wild fires, AT&T California said that the copper feeder plant to specific distribution areas were destroyed beyond repair in portions of Sonoma, Ukiah, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Lower Lake.

“The circuits will be transferred to fiber based NGDLC systems,” AT&T said in a FCC filing (PDF). “The transfer of these circuits does not compromise the capacity of the cabinets.”

California is only one area where a major weather issue affected AT&T’s copper network facilities.

In Florida, AT&T is also being forced to migrate its copper facilities in the Florida Keys to a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network infrastructure due to severe damage caused by last September’s Hurricane Irma.

Like the California wildfires, AT&T determined that Hurricane Irma left its copper network beyond repair and that it would need to rebuild it with fiber facilities.