Installation and Management of Telecommunications Infrastructure—Interim Guidelines

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To provide a consistent approach to the installation and management of telecommunications infrastructure in Crown-owned and lease-purchase buildings in the custody and control of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and any leased facility where the leasing agreement permits. This document is intended primarily for the use of Property Managers, but may be useful to Client Accommodation Service Advisors (CASAs), Leasing Officers and others associated with real property telecommunications issues.

This document provides the interim guidelines that may lead to a future policy and best practice.


Over the years, in many buildings in the custody of PSPC, the telecommunications infrastructure has been installed and managed without a co-ordinated holistic approach. In buildings occupied by more than one department or agency, individual departments often have planned and installed their own cabling infrastructure, based on the specific space they occupy, without consideration for the other departments sharing the building and following inconsistent standards and approaches.

This fragmented approach has often meant that telecommunications infrastructure has had to be replaced, or significantly altered, as space requirements changed, leading to additional costs being incurred and a delay in space occupancy while the work was being done.

The more significant problem areas that have been identified are as follows:

  1. Major cabling projects have often been contracted by PSPC clients without the knowledge or consent of the building Property Manager. Cabling systems have often not been labelled or mapped and records have not been provided or maintained, leaving Property Managers unaware of where the cabling is located and if it is still being used by the clients. Redundant cabling has sometimes been left abandoned to clog up pathways. Cabling systems, and the infrastructure they support, have also interfered with other building systems such as building automation, electrical or building communications
  2. In some cases, telecommunications common carriers (e.g. Bell, Telus, Rogers, AT&T: hereinafter "carriers") are not adhering to relevant codes and regulations or good engineering practices. Cabling has been installed without support, resting on ceiling tiles or too close to electrical fixtures, creating a hazard in service tunnels. Sometimes cabling is not appropriately fire rated and firestopping has not been used. In addition, carriers have often installed equipment in various locations, instead of one common room
  3. In many buildings, there is little control over who has access to the Entrance Room, Main Terminal Equipment Room, Telecommunications Rooms and other areas. Often, there are no security protocols in place and proper notification is often not given to Property Managers to arrange security escorts or clearances
  4. In many buildings, there are no licence agreements with the carrier in place, leaving the Crown open to risk in such areas as security, financial and legal liability


These guidelines do not address the issue of funding telecommunications infrastructure, as this subject is currently under review.


Telecommunications Infrastructure:
For the purpose of this document, telecommunications infrastructure refers to telecommunications spaces (e.g. rooms) and pathways (e.g. conduit, cable tray), cables and related components such as jacks, cross-connection hardware, etc.

It does not include electronic equipment installed in telecommunications room such as LAN switches, routers, PBX etc. or telecommunications equipment installed elsewhere in the building such as telephones, FAX machines or network cards.

Holistic Approach:
When a telecommunications infrastructure is designed following a holistic approach, the designer has created a single integrated infrastructure serving the entire building. In contrast, when a telecommunications infrastructure is designed following a non-holistic or legacy approach, the building's telecommunications infrastructure is a piece-meal collection of separate telecommunications infrastructures, each serving the specific space occupied by an individual tenant or department.


Further details on the holistic approach are provided in the PSPC Technical Bulletin, Installation and Management of the Telecommunications Infrastructure.

Best Practice

  1. An evaluation of current telecommunications spaces and pathways in each building is to be undertaken to determine deficiencies and to produce an inventory of useful and redundant cabling systems. Following this evaluation, an implementation strategy is to be developed to rectify the deficiencies at each location, taking into account current standards and the particular challenges of each building
    • Note: Property Managers have been asked to conduct Telecommunications Infrastructure Audits (TIA) in buildings where one has not been done in the past. The Terms of Reference and related template for the audits are available from the Property and Facilities Management Directorate. (See Inquiries at the end of this document)
  2. PSPC clients must agree that all initial installations of cabling systems and all ongoing subsequent work on such systems must be undertaken only after approval from the Property Manager. All such work has to be performed by qualified personnel (whether internal or contractors) and all applicable codes shall be respected. Departments and agencies must ensure that accurate records of such cabling installations are created and maintained and that they are accessible to the Property Manager on demand. Where available (e.g. currently in National Capital Area, soon to follow in the Regions), Property Managers may recommend the PSPC Cable Plant Management (CPM) service to departments as a solution for the ongoing cable plant management, including record keeping
  3. Property Managers are to arrange for licence agreements to be in place between PSPC, as the custodian, and every telecommunications carrier, at all locations. These agreements are prepared by Commercial Leasing Officers and executed by PSPC leasing authorities (See Inquiries at the end of this document). The licence agreements define the terms under which the carrier can have access and operate and cover such subjects as the term of the agreement, applicable Codes and Regulations, security, liability, licence fees, records management and compensation for energy usage. No other licence agreement is to be used
  4. Carriers must obtain an approval from Property Manager for all installations of communica-tions cabling and equipment. Carriers are to provide evidence to Property Managers that equipment has been installed safely and that it complies with all relevant Codes and Regulations. The carrier undertaking the initial installation is to create and maintain accurate records of the equipment and cabling they install to provide network services. These records are to be made accessible to the Property Manager on demand
  5. Property Managers are to establish security procedures with the client that respect federal security requirements while providing operational efficiency. These should cover such subjects as the minimum security clearances for access to telecommunication areas by carrier personnel, clients and PSPC staff, the access systems controlling these areas and the need for each party to access a particular room. Procedures should also require an audit trail for tracking who entered what room
  6. It is recommended that new or redesigned telecommunications infrastructure should be designed, implemented and managed on a holistic basis under a single contract. A comprehensive cable plant management should be implemented in order to manage the infrastructure and maintain up to date electronic records. Where available, the preferred option is the PSPC CPM service offering. (See Inquiries at the end of this document)
  7. Where a holistic or common backbone cabling system has been established by the Crown in a building, carriers are to terminate their services in one common location, preferably the entrance room. Equipment, owned by the carriers and associated with their telecommunications services should be located at the point of demarcation, the point where the operational control or ownership changes. If the common, holistic cabling system is in place but services are not terminating in one location, Property Managers should actively develop a plan to rectify the situation.
    If the building does not contain a common or holistic Crown-owned backbone cabling system, carriers may extend their cables to specific areas in the building occupied by each department. Carriers should understand that this arrangement is temporary and will be terminated once a common or holistic Crown-owned backbone cabling system is installed
  8. An audit of the telecommunications infrastructure should be performed when the current occupant vacates the space. It is important to verify that the infrastructure complies with the current standards and that the proper records are accurate and up to date. The audit will assist the leasing officer with marketing vacant space to perspective tenants

Expected Outcomes and Benefits

It is expected that implementation of this Best Practice will lead to substantial benefits for the Crown. In particular the following potential benefits have been identified:


Further details on the security implications of the holistic approach to the telecommunications architecture are provided in the PSPC Technical Bulletin, Security Implications of the Integrated Telecommunications Infrastructure.


Treasury Board Policies and Standards

Public Services and Procurement Canada

Canadian and US Standards


Questions and comments pertaining to this document should be addressed to

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