Construction of a fiber optic network is a complex and lengthy process. Numerous contractors are involved, and the entire process can take six to 12 months to complete, depending upon the length of the circuit, the terrain and soils, weather, availability of materials and other external factors. The following discussion covers the phases of construction along overhead distribution lines. You can see each step below:
Step 1: Make Ready Engineering and Construction
After an in-house design of the fiber build to the distribution access point, field engineers go to each pole to determine if any modifications are required in order to support the fiber, keeping in mind NESC clearance requirements. Line crews will change poles, move transformers from one side of the pole to the other, move wires on the pole, add new anchors to the poles, and perform other work to allow the ﬁber to be placed later.
In addition to engineering the design, other steps include obtaining permits, staking, coordinating with Miss Utility, finalizing ROW easements and procuring material, all of which are done before construction can begin. This work has the widest variance in time of all construction phases. The make ready construction phase can take five months or more to complete.
Step 2: Fiber Construction
The construction team will bury fiber cables underground or string it from poles to connect your neighborhood to our fiber network. This process can take up to another three months. You may see us digging holes during this stage. When we’re done, we will return all sidewalks and green spaces to the way we found them. Fiber construction can take four to eight weeks on a circuit.
Step 3: Splicing
Once the strand and ﬁber is placed, splicers will make splices at each end and tap point. They splice the necessary cables at each point and mount the splices in enclosures secured to the distribution poles or in pedestals. The splicing work can take another three to six weeks for the main lines.
Step 4: Service Drop Construction
The next step is service drop construction. This work can be done in parallel with some of the earlier work, or it might be done after the main line ﬁber is in place. The drop crews extend the ﬁber from the nearest splice point to the structure receiving service and leave coils of ﬁber in each location.
Step 5: Drop Splicing
The ﬁnal outdoor step in ﬁber construction is the splicing of the drop. The splicer connects the last length of ﬁber at the tap point and also mounts a network interface device (NID) at the structure with the ﬁnal splice inside the NID. The service is now ready for in-home installation.
Step 6: Home Install
The final step is to install the ONT/router in the consumer’s home and connect it to the outside NID. The installer will call the consumer to schedule this appointment once the above steps are complete.
As you can see, there will be multiple different contractors and vehicles passing each point over several months before the service is ready for final installation.