Since June, more than 1500 people have been on the ground to respond quickly and effectively to the replacement of more than 12,000 burnt telegraph poles and over 1000 km of burnt cables. At the August 24th press conference in Lisbon, Alexandre Fonseca, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Altice/PT, praised the work, dedication and altruism of the teams that have contributed daily to restoring the network and taking communication service to all affected regions.
In just two months, 170 thousand hectares of Portuguese territory have burned, representing six times more than the total average area burned in the last 10 years. A national scourge that has affected the communications services throughout the country and against which PT’s technical teams have been working relentlessly to restore the communications network.
From north to south and east to west, Altice/PT, the only operator with national coverage, has been constantly defending the public interest and restoring all communications with all the means that it has available.
In the fire in Pedrogão Grande alone, which involved six council areas and resulted in 53 thousand hectares of burned area, more than 500 kilometers of copper or fiber optic cable were affected. "Considering the size of the fires and the approximately 13 thousand customers in this area, PT immediately mobilized more than two hundred people and 100 vehicles," said Alexandre Fonseca. These efforts on the ground made it possible to recover 98% of the services in a period of only 4 ½ days. "And these recovery actions were underway whilst there were still active fires."
In addition to Pedrógão Grande, Altice/PT intervened in Mação, Ferreira do Zêzere, Sertã, Gavião, Castelo Branco, Tomar, Mangualde, Oliveira do Hospital and other municipalities affected by the fires in recent months.
“We always give everything we have got. More than a dozen satellite telephones and 17 transportable mobile network units at strategic points were provided for the use and support of the parish councilors in order to serve local communities, health centers, Social Security offices, municipalities and other public service agencies, even if they are not PT customers, "said the official.
During this assessment of the field technician’s work, Altice/PT's CTO recalled that the "overwhelming majority of the network and services were recovered in less than a week, when their construction took decades." In view of the disaster scenario that the country has experienced in recent months, Altice/PT's concern has been to ensure that networks are resilient, responsive to needs and comply with service levels. Alexandre Fonseca also highlights that the group is committed to a constant improvement and evolution of the network itself.
As for the SIRESP network, the CTO is convinced that "PT has met and exceeded unequivocally all levels of contracted service". Currently, Altice/PT is integrating two working groups in order to increase the resilience and redundancy of the SIRESP network, and has even delivered a technical proposal to create network redundancy.