A lot of things impact the timing of when we can install GFiber in your home. This article explains what we do between the time you sign up and the time we can install GFiber in your home and why sometimes things can take a bit longer than we originally anticipated.
Brand new networks take time to build
For some GFiber cities, we can use existing fiber for part or all of our network, which can help us bring service to residents more quickly. However, for most GFiber cities, we're building a new network, which means we're laying a lot of new fiber in the ground or on utility poles. In many of our GFiber cities, there are thousands of miles of fiber to be laid. For example, in Kansas City, we laid 7,000 miles of fiber, about the distance from New York City to Beijing. That's a lot of ground to cover, one foot of fiber at a time.
Before we invite you to sign up for GFiber, we spend a lot of time developing a construction plan for your community and working with local authorities on permitting and other issues. Once we've determined that we can bring GFiber service to a particular area, there is more design and planning work to be done.
Laying fiber underground
Before we can lay the fiber in the ground, we have to determine the location of the existing underground utilities, such as wires, pipes and water lines. We follow the required process for marking the locations where each utility is supposed to be. This helps our construction crews when they are digging. You might see orange, blue, red or yellow locate marks painted on sidewalks, streets, or even on grass.
Private property access rights
Our video franchises, which are issued by a state or local government, give us the right to build our network in public rights-of-ways and easements in a particular jurisdiction. Where applicable, we have to separately secure the rights to construct on private property, such as in a multi-family apartment building, in a gated community, or across a private road.
Construction can be disruptive
While construction work is a necessary part of building a new fiber network, we try to minimize disruption for the city and its residents. To see some of the activity that happens during Fiber construction, have a look at our construction video below.
Pulling fiber to utility poles
In some GFiber cities, we deploy our network by pulling fiber lines to utility poles. Before doing so, we examine the poles to be sure there's space for our fiber. There are specific regulations and contractual obligations around placement of equipment on utility poles and requirements for coordination with third parties.
Certain factors can slow us down
Even under the best of circumstances, there are some things that slow us down that are out of our control, such as:
Weather, weather, weather. We can't work outside when the weather doesn't cooperate. On snowy or rainy days, our ability to build the network is restricted, as we can't expose fiber lines to moisture or perform road construction. Just about everything stops or slows down in bad weather, including construction of fiber networks.
Limited work days/hours. Construction permits are often valid for certain days of the week and times of the day. So although we might have enough crews to work longer days or over the weekends, we have to comply with the local restrictions.
Why your neighbor might get installed before you do
Sometimes one or two homes on a street don't get installed until weeks or months after the rest of the street is installed. There are a few possible reasons this might happen:
Property access issues. We can't get onto the property for some reason.
Installation differences. Sometimes, one or two houses in a neighborhood have underground cables when the rest of the houses in that neighborhood have overhead cables. In that case, the houses with underground cables are usually installed later than the rest.
Unforeseen circumstances. We wish we could be prepared for every unexpected obstacle, but sometimes there are unique conditions at a particular address that affect our ability to install GFiber.
We're as efficient as possible
Although this all takes time and we run into roadblocks and delays, we've learned a lot and try to be as efficient as possible in our construction process.
We start by coordinating with the local authorities as much as possible, so we're ready to start construction as soon as possible. We build out a city strategically, deploying resources where they can be put to work. Rather than having to go from street A to street B, we can build street J and then F and then S, if that makes more sense, and then connect them as we get adjacent streets completed.
This construction strategy means we can bypass streets that may be temporarily inaccessible and come back to them later. That helps us keep moving forward, keeps our crews busy, and makes the whole process go as quickly as possible.