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Study case

Enhancing telecom strategy in the energy sector

By Francesc Pérez, Sergio Daniel D'Uva, Francisco Monserrat Rodrigo, Francisco Hijano González, Franco Miguel Deltetto — February 14, 2024

Ensuring resilience, regulatory compliance, and future adaptability through strategic and operational innovations is key to evolving the telecom infrastructure

The challenge

We regularly collaborate closely with various telecommunication companies by offering our expertise in developing strategic and network plans, as well as executing operational plans and process improvements.

This expertise has attracted the attention of other types of companies that, although they do not commercially exploit telecommunications, these are fundamental to their operations.

In this case, we refer to energy companies, which have extensive telecom networks in a self-provision mode, allowing them to manage and control critical energy supply processes to the population.

Our goal was to validate the telecom network strategy of one of the United Kingdom’s leading electrical companies. To do this, we tackled challenges of growth, quality of service, and regulatory commitments. Additionally, we presented technological alternatives and architectures to provide a complete vision of their future strategy.

Regulatory commitments require electric companies to evolve their telecom networks to ensure optimal operation of the electrical grid and respect the quality levels committed to the regulator. These evolutions are carried out during investment cycles defined by the regulator, occurring over time as new demands and controls emerge.

In a highly regulated market, the funding for most of the investments comes from public funds. Therefore, it is crucial for companies to present their evolution and investment plans during investment cycles to be validated by the regulator and receive the corresponding funds after approval. Defining a strategy that addresses short, medium, and long-term challenges is essential.

Strategic initiatives must have a global vision, anticipating both current problems and future challenges. In other words, a long-term strategic plan is required.

The solution

In the first place, we began by analyzing the telecom strategy, including the network design presented to the regulator, and the current operational process.

Then, we proposed guidelines for future development in the medium and long term, focusing on crucial aspects that should be considered in the upcoming investment cycles and in the optimization of operational processes.

We evaluated fundamental aspects, including the specific needs of the network, service requirements, security standards, and available physical resources, whether owned or subcontracted (such as optical fiber, wire or radio).

We considered the present and future service needs within the telecom network hierarchy, that hosts services with different requirements, from strict latency levels and high resilience to high bandwidth services with lower resilience requirements.

The proposal made was based on the experience of our group of experts, the opinions of equipment suppliers, and the experience of internal departments and other electric companies. We meticulously documented the collected information, identified potential risks, and compared the results with industry standards and available solutions.

Several points were highlighted in our proposal. First of all, we considered the technological evolution of the equipment in service, evaluated the lifecycle of the devices and their vulnerability to cyberattacks, proposing an evolution of the network based on MPLS-IP (Multiprotocol Label Switching-Internet Protocol) to ensure the provision of all services with redundant paths and minimization of latency, replacing existing SDH/PDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy/Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy) and MPLS-TP (Multiprotocol Label Switching-Transport Profile) networks.

We recommended transitioning from narrowband radio systems to 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) mobile networks to improve residential management, and we adapted the choice between public or private networks based on spectrum availability and the capacity to manage equipment and infrastructure.

We assisted the company in aligning a new maintenance supplier management model with its corporate objectives. Additionally, we complemented our suggestions with an internal communication plan designed to forge a unified and clear vision within the company.

The result

Our approach provided the client with an independent assessment of their telecom strategy, supported previous investment cycles, and prepared them for any future regulatory changes.

We validated the creation of a robust and adaptable network that ensures service quality across the electrical grid and supports the work done to date.

Jordi Meya
Jordi Meya

Technology Business Unit director


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