Global Tower won a waiver from the FCC to conduct annual, rather than quarterly, tower inspections on more than 1,280 structures. Global believes this decision will save the company thousands of dollars and person hours annually.
Global secured this waiver because of its Flash Technology Tower Monitoring System. The system uses self-diagnostic functions; users are alerted to actual and potential problems “immediately in many instances, or at most within 24 hours,” according to the tower firm. The FTTMS is programmed to initiate a connection from each monitored site once every 24 hours; it uses both dial-up and wireless technology to communicate between the tower and Global.
Alarm conditions are categorized as “major alarms” (beacon/strobe failure, beacon/strobe communication failure, filter failure, low flash energy, consecutive missed flashes, photo cell failure, power failure, and site communication failure) and “minor alarms” (AC power failure, DC power failure, side marker failure).
Global Tower states that, particularly for towers in remote locations, quarterly inspection imposes a substantial and unnecessary resource burden. Without the waiver, the company said it would continue to carry out 1,153 quarterly inspections totaling 4,612 site visits each year.
The FCC agreed with Global that the system is robust and noted that the agency has issued waivers to other tower companies with similar monitoring software, such as Crown Castle. A rulemaking petition is pending to exempt from the quarterly inspection requirement all tower companies using monitoring software that contacts a Network Operations Call center.
Flash Technology makes aviation obstruction lighting and remote asset monitoring systems; it is owned by SPX Corp., which also owns Dielectric Communications.