What are the first steps in planning for the fiber project?
As planning continues for the network design, PIE&G will begin the pole inventory and Make Ready Engineering phase of the process for fiber installation. Beginning mid-May, 2021, you will see authorized contractors from Davey Resource Group (DRG) in our service areas and on your property conducting pole-by-pole surveys to determine what preparations to existing poles are needed for the fiber installation.
The outline below begins with the first steps of Pole Inventory and Make Ready Engineering, followed by Make Ready Construction and so on. This series of steps will be repeated for each electric distribution route (feed) from each of our substations. Each of our substations have been assigned to one of 4 Phases of the project. We will announce the geographic areas included in each Phase of the project soon.
Step 1: Pole Inventory and Make Ready Engineering (MRE)– Approximately Four to Five Week Process per Feed
During the early stages of the fiber project, the focus is on evaluation, identification and preparations necessary for development of the network design for the eventual fiber build out. Field engineers will perform an inventory of all equipment on the electric utility poles of each electric feed coming from each substation. This data will be used for two purposes. One is to create a detailed digital mapping of the fiber routes to complete the design map, and the other is for Make Ready Engineering (MRE). During the MRE process, the field engineers will determine if modifications to any poles are required in order to support the fiber and the steel strand that accompanies it. Poles may need to be moved to make more space, or they may need to be replaced with stronger or taller poles. During the first phase, inspectors will also “ride out” the build, visiting every location throughout the project area and making notations of changes that may need to be made. They also make sure every member in the territory is included in the design. This phase can take four to five weeks.
Step 2: Make Ready Construction (MRC) – Four-to-12-Week Process per Feed
The timeline for make ready construction can vary widely, depending on the number of changes that need to be made to accommodate the fiber on the poles, terrain, weather and unforeseen complications. Line crews change poles, move transformers from one side of the pole to another, move wires on the pole, add new anchors to the poles, and perform other work to allow the ﬁber to be placed during the fiber construction phase. During this process, crews may need to de-energize power to a transformer in order to safely make the necessary updates to the poles and hardware. Once Make Ready Construction is complete, the locations on the poles where fiber will be attached will be free and clear of all obstructions, so the next phase, Fiber Construction, can begin.
Step 3: Fiber Construction – Four-to-Eight-Week Process
Fiber crews will begin the process of adding fiber-optic cable and steel strands to pole lines throughout the community. This process can vary whether electric lines are above or below ground. If underground, asphalt and concrete driveways will be bored under and a pedestal may be placed next to a transformer or junction box to allow for a service drop. Fiber construction can take four to eight weeks in the designated zone.
Step 4: Splicing – Three-to-Six-Week Process
Once the strand and ﬁber are both placed and secured, splicing can begin. Splicing can take three to six weeks for the main lines. In this phase, field workers called “splicers” join the necessary cables at each end and tap point and mount the splices in enclosures secured to the distribution poles or in pedestals.
Step 5: Service Drop Construction
Service drop construction may be done simultaneously with some of the previously mentioned steps, or it may be done after the main line fiber is in place. In this phase, 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 6: Drop Splicing
Drop splicing is the next to last step of the process. The splicer connects the last length of ﬁber at the tap point and mounts a network interface device (NID) at the structure with the ﬁnal splice inside it.
After drop splicing is completed, the network is now ready to be turned over for installation to homes and businesses to start receiving service.
Step 7: Home or Business Installation
Finally, the fiber is connected to a fiber jack inside your home or office, where it’s plugged into the modem we provide! If you pre-register that you are interested in taking service, one of our member service representatives will contact you to schedule an appointment for an in-home installer to finalize your connection and test the services from your equipment. Once the installation is complete and tested, your service should be ready to go. Welcome to the world of high-speed internet!