Three main reasons why conventional pedestals are not compatible with urban densification.

Previously:

Individual homes previously benefited from large front lawns, allowing easy dissimulation of service pedestals in corners behind some bush. However, with the urban densification taking place, this situation has significantly changed.

Today:

The reduction of the size of lots, combined with an increased number of parking spots on every property, has transformed frontages by reducing the front lawns to such modest dimensions that it has become impossible to install and dissimulate pedestals easily. Furthermore, there is no more savings in building separate network infrastructures, given the actual costs for civil works, for concrete, and for the required legal servitudes.

The three main reasons:

  1. Lost of value

    In new residential developments, properties showing conventional pedestals on their small frontage are the last ones chosen by the buyers. Therefore, the presence of pedestals on your frontage will lower the value of your property. And since access to this equipment must be maintained, it is not recommended to try to hide them behind bushes.

  2. Required legal servitudes

    In most jurisdictions, a private lot requires a legal servitude to install a pedestal or a handhole, which implies costs and delays for the home builder or the land developer. One way to avoid these costs is to install these devices in the public easement along the street. However, installing pedestals in the public easement is generally avoided or forbidden.

  3. Construction costs

    Lately, costs of civil works have become prohibitive. It is therefore important to minimize the amount of required civil works when designing power and telecom infrastructures. Integrating the various networks within a single trench and make all the connections for a customer from a single point has become more economical.

Historically, in urban areas, pedestals take the shape of enclosures of various sizes installed along the streets, generally on front lawns.

Why do we need pedestals?

Pedestals and handholes usually serve to make customer connections on power and telecom networks. Therefore, they are normally dedicated to one service utility, either energy or telecom, each with its standards.

What types of networks use pedestals?

Wired networks need enclosures to make connections, which is not the case for wireless networks that use antennas instead to transmit signals. Meanwhile, to this day, power networks have only been made using wires, but power connections can be made underground, which is not usually the case for telecom connections.

The solution:

  • Integrate the pedestals into the lampposts

The lampposts are an excellent example of a required urban functional structure typically installed in the public easement. They are commonly needed every 100 feet, on one side or either side along the streets. For the pedestals and handholes to be integrated into the lamppost base, it must be possible to connect all the required services for 4 to 8 homes nearby, which is precisely what MCM Joint Distribution Pedestal (JDP) is proposing.

Since 2005, thousands of MCM JDPs have been installed in Eastern Canada. They have proven to be an effective solution to integrate the power and telecom connections in the base of lampposts. This concept has also proven to be economically viable by firstly reducing the required civil works significantly, one trench only being required to pass the power and telecom cables from one lamppost to another. 

The following grid compares the conventional approach, using separate pedestals and handholes, with the integrated system, using the MCM JDP :

DESCRIPTIONCONVENTIONALINTEGRATED WITH JDP
LocationFront lawnsPublic easement
Legal servitudesRequiredNot required
(JDP has its subbase)
Civil worksOne trench per serviceAll in a single trench
(Normalization required)
Concrete base for :
– Lamppost
– Telecom 1
– Telecom 2

Required
Recommended
Recommended

Not required
Not required
Not required
Power connectionHandhole requiredIncluded
Access in wintertimeOften difficult in snowAlways easy
DurabilityVariableLifetime
MaintenanceMinimalMinimal
No of customers4 to 8 per location4 to 8 per location
AestheticsPoorGood
Valeur des maisonsDeratedIntact or improved
Construction costsAs a reference15 % less
Engineering costsAs a reference25 % more

To successfully integrate the connected devices, the engineering firm has to gather the needs from each utility involved to physically relocate the connection points at the lampposts locations while complying with the utility standards. Although this exercise might seem complicated at first, it rapidly becomes a standard design method in the following projects. In addition, MCM provides free technical support at all the project stages, from advice for the design to instructions for the contractor regarding the installation of the JDP.