Delivering Rural Telecoms Structures for the Scottish 4G Infill (S4GI) Project

First announced in 2018, the Scottish 4G Infill (S4GI) programme is an initiative that brings 4G mobile connectivity to rural areas of Scotland.

Partly funded by both the European Regional Development Fund and the Scottish Government, the project features a build programme of approximately 50 telecoms towers across rural Scotland.

These structures provide the platform for 4G mobile network signal to reach remote areas that had previously experienced little to no coverage at all.

What are Swann Engineering Group Delivering for This Project?

Working alongside programme infrastructure provider and owner WHP TelecomsSwann Engineering Group Ltd continues to play a major role in designing, manufacturing and installing steel lattice telecommunications structures for this project.

To meet these challenges, we have so far supplied over twenty Swann 5S towers to the S4GI programme. The Swann 5S is a robust and reliable structure, manufactured in a latticework configuration and extendable up to 35m in height. The towers are designed and manufactured at our dedicated UK fabrication facility in Braintree, Essex.

Selecting the Correct Solution

To meet the needs of the S4GI project, it is critical that the most suitable tower solution is selected for each site. To do this, our inhouse team of chartered civil and structural engineers conduct technical design checking.

These extensive site appraisals, which analyse the location, geography, and customer specification, provide the project team with vital information to determine the correct tower solution for each site.

Due to the remote and exposed nature of many of the site locations, it is necessary to implement a structural solution that can withstand extreme windspeeds and altitudes, as well as making allowance for potential loading of ice and snow during winter months.

What Project Challenges Have Been Overcome?

The exposed nature of some sites, coupled with bad weather, has periodically halted installation and lifting operations.

However, our highly skilled engineering teams’ site activities have recommenced once deemed safe by the site’s health and safety coordinator. Combining inclement weather with remote and rural topography also introduces additional logistical challenges.

With limited road accessibility on some sites, it has been necessary to manoeuvre tonnes of galvanised steel and equipment across uneven and muddy ground.

The Covid-19 pandemic has demanded versatility, co-operating with national and regional lockdowns, and requiring additional measures both on and off site. Due to the critical nature of this infrastructure, we have been able to continue operating on permitted sites.

Despite these challenges, our experienced and dedicated teams have been able to maintain the anticipated build lead-time of approximately 10-14 weeks per site. This lead-time includes the tower design, manufacture, and final installation on site.

Critical Communication Infrastructure

During these unpredictable times, the need to stay connected has never been more important.

Swann Engineering Group Ltd takes great pride in providing our support, services and expertise in this ground-breaking build initiative, creating the platform for mass scale communication across remote and rural areas of Scotland.

This article published with the kind permission of WHP Telecoms. For programme updates and further information on S4GI, visit the Scottish Government website or WHP’s website.

Supplementary information about the S4GI project can also be found on ISPreview forum.

Images Credit to WHP Telecoms and Swann Engineering Group Ltd.

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