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What is OSP Design?


Katapult logo overlaid on a picture of a telephone pole.

OSP design stands for outside plant design. Whether or not that means something to you, OSP design affects everything you do. In fact, you could say it is everything you do. Or at least, everything you do demands OSP. Streaming videos, sending texts, calling friends, scrolling social media. Telecommuting to work, earning a degree online, telehealth. Checking the weather, catching up on sports, binging the newest TV show. 


It’s all thanks to OSP design. 


Way back when, folks would tap out Morse code messages over the telegraph and telephone poles, connecting people nationwide in seconds. 


While the technique has changed and gotten way more advanced, the goal is still the same: bring people together. 


That purpose led to the telephone, television, and finally the internet. All of this connecting requires access to distribution centers, which use telephone poles to connect across huge distances to eventually bring power and services directly to homes. How’s all possible? Who makes sure that the poles can handle extra loads and have the capacity for new cables? That would be the OSP designers and engineers. 


OSP designers create connections from distribution centers to telephone poles to homes so that you’re able to talk, text, share, email, stream, repost, tweet, learn, work, and play. 


The OSP design process often looks something like this:


  1. Figure out the funding and ROI objectives. Typically this is some mix of maximizing return and reaching underserved customers. Public capital typically cannot cover the full cost, so private capital is needed. When private capital is on the line, it’s no longer a fully altruistic endeavor—providers need to set ROI objectives and choose communities most likely to help them hit those targets. 

  2. Design your route. Traditionally done from the field, now route determination can often be done from the office using aerial imagery and Street View. This is when designers work to tie in existing plant with available infrastructure to take new lines to new places.

  3. Determine what data collection is needed. Providers need to collect specific types of data for their own records and deployment plan, but pole owners and other rights holders require varying levels of data when submitting for permits and permissions. Unfortunately, this means that different projects often have different data collection workflows and deliverables.

  4. Submit all applications and permits. After data collection and subsequent engineering design (if necessary), providers or their vendors need to get permission to build out communication systems both overhead and underground.


Building it out (and as-built documentation). OSP construction is the process by which those new communication lines get fully implemented. An important step for safety and record-keeping is the post-construction inspections or documentation 


We created Katapult Pro to help reduce some of the burdens of OSP design. With Katapult Pro, teams can map out routes before data collection, gather essential data for permitting, call make ready, and perform pole loading analysis in real-time. OSP design is essential for telecommunications. So we’ve created a solution that makes this task easier, letting you focus on your talents on building excellent engineering.


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