Question Google fiber is excavating - why?

DLes

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So Google fiber has landed in my neighborhood, and they are digging up the street to lay it. This is a BIG job, with loads of workers and heavy equipment. What I don't understand is WHY. Grande, AT&T and Spectrum all run cables on poles. In my neighborhood, there is no restriction on doing that. Hanging cables on poles is vastly, vastly cheaper than excavating roadways. So why is Google spending oodles of money to do this? Even running the connection from the street to the house is a matter of excavation, in digging up yards and restoring lawns. They started out with a big survey, to identify gas line feeds to avoid compromising them.

Now, clearly a buried cable is pretty immune to tree limbs falling and vandalism. But in my thirty years here, I've seen one instance of a cable break because of that, and it required one guy and a ladder to fix it.

The street workers said that decision was above their pay grade, but confided to me that Google started out hanging cables, and then decided to bury them.

Does any one have a clue about this? Why is Google throwing so much money at this? What fiscal advantage does this give them over the other up-on-poles internet providers?
 

USAFRet

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Underground is much more stable than on poles.

Where you are in the country, and the relevant storms, may have an impact on how things are run.

My local neighborhood, everything is underground. Power, cable, Verizon Fiber.
In recent semi-hurricanes, ours was the only neighborhood still with power. 2 streets over...no power/internet for a week.
 

DLes

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Well, obviously underground is more stable than on poles. Orbiting in space is much more stable than on poles too. No arguments there! But underground and space are MUCH more expansive than putting on poles. As I said, we've had NO power failures, and ONE internet failure in thirty years. Repair for pole-mounted cables is cheap. The question is, how can Google afford to do this, without pricing their service out of competition. If they are going to save so much money, why didn't AT&T, Grande and Spectrum do it?
 
It would be strange for them to dig up streets. Normally they find some grass area dig holes many times by hand and then use horizontal boring to pull conduit. They later run the fiber in the conduit. I don't know the limit but when I have seen them running it along the highway it seems to be many hundreds of feet between holes if they want so not a lot of digging.
 

USAFRet

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Well, obviously underground is more stable than on poles. Orbiting in space is much more stable than on poles too. No arguments there! But underground and space are MUCH more expansive than putting on poles. As I said, we've had NO power failures, and ONE internet failure in thirty years. Repair for pole-mounted cables is cheap. The question is, how can Google afford to do this, without pricing their service out of competition. If they are going to save so much money, why didn't AT&T, Grande and Spectrum do it?
Space/satellite is a whole different thing.

Why/how can google afford to do this now?
Techniques and equipment changes.
Laws and regulations change.

They will go with whichever is most cost effective and possible.
If Spectrum were to sttart from zero, today...they might be doing it underground as well.
 
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DLes

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Well, I'm just here asking. If you know how techniques and equipment have changed, let's hear it.
Ladders are pretty much still ladders, and ditch diggers are pretty much still ditch diggers.
If laws and regs changed, then the current providers are in violation, it might seem.

Certainly true that they have to pay to use the poles, but again, the other providers thought it was more affordable than digging up streets.

Something changed. I'm trying to understand what.

Now Google is pretty future-oriented. It may be that conduits under the streets are going to be more useful when 6G comes around, and no one will need a connection to their house.
 

USAFRet

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Current providers may be grandfathered in, and with previous contracts.
A NEW provider will have to conform to whatever rules exist NOW.

Whoever owns/controls the poles may have wanted too much money from google.

If it were cheaper/better/easier for them to string new lines on the poles, they would have done that.
They're not digging up the street just to make you upset.
 
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DLes

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If it were cheaper/better/easier for them to string new lines on the poles, they would have done that.
No, seriously?
They're not digging up the street just to make you upset.
Gosh, I was just assuming that's what they were trying to do!

I haven't heard any really strong answers here, though several maybe kindas. I consider this unresolved.
 

USAFRet

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I haven't heard any really strong answers here, though several maybe kindas. I consider this unresolved.
Maybe they're looking 30 years into the future, and knowing that the pole things will be going away, in favor of all underground infrastructure.
Maybe the technology to lay new wiring underground is cheaper.
Maybe the pole owners wouldn't let them.
Maybe the city wouldn't let them.

The only ones who REALLY know why they're doing it this way is google, and maybe your city.
 
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Ralston18

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Seconding previous responses as to "why".

Google is doing that because, as has been stated in previous posts, they likely have/had no other choice. Very sure that the end decision(s) to dig involved a number of trade-offs that no one was really happy about.

I live in a community where everything (electric, gas, telephone, cable (fiber and coax) are all underground with the usual waterlines, sewer connections, etc. running along streets and sidewalks. Documentation can be quite sketchy.

Digging and boring even without problems is very expensive. Damaging other infrastructure is expensive - even all the more so if the digging company skipped any preliminary surveys.

Almost any digging and boring is bound to hit something else despite all of the county maps and concentrated efforts by "Miss Utility" type contractors to locate existing lines.

All the more so in a mature community (i.e., older homes and streets). Contractors often dumped debris in any holes available and sooner or later someone tries to bore or trench through somewhere just to hit old concrete, asphalt, tree stumps, whatever.... Sometimes the cable installers end up hand digging holes every few feet as obstacles are encountered. Entire sections of sidewalks need to be removed.

Tree roots alone will get into things - especially sewer lines. Little trees that are now big trees are often a barrier. Boring though a tree's root system can and does kill trees.

We lost a tree when an underground electrical line shorted under the tree. Fused sand and everything. The repair company then cut a small plastic natural gas line no one knew was there. (Originally served an always on gas light alongside the driveway. Never properly shut off or otherwise terminated when the light was changed to electric. Plastic pipe just crimped "closed" at the base of the light pole....) Gas leaks often mandate calling 911 unless the gas company is already present. Other utility companies/contractors have to wait in the meantime for Fire Department and gas company to arrive. Work stops and everyone sits around.

Utility trucks of any sort on our street, especially when pulling digging equipment, usually means some sort of disruption.

And, adding insult to injury, the incurred expenses eventually get added to our bills.

Google having to dig means a hit on their bottom line and likely angry customers when rates need to be raised. Or other people, not even customers, who are impacted by the construction.

Like you, no one is happy with any of it all.

Hopefully, in the long run everything will work out and you may find yourself benefiting from really stable and fast internet service.

Especially if Google is becoming a competitor in your service area. May hold rates down a bit.... :)
 
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DLes

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Thank you. Of course, like the other responses, that doesn't really answer the question. Obviously Google is doing this because they have to, either legally or fiscally. That's sort of a hand-waving answer. The question was WHY they had to. One has to assume that the reason is some local issue that none of us know about. I was curious if there was some specific non-local reason. As in, here is a technical and or fiscal advantage of burying the lines everywhere and always.

The fact that the other providers string their wires on poles, and Google wants to bury them means either that the other providers are dumb, OR something changed.

My current internet service is stable and fast. Google isn't going to fix anything for me on that score.
 
Sep 23, 2020
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Thank you. Of course, like the other responses, that doesn't really answer the question. Obviously Google is doing this because they have to, either legally or fiscally. That's sort of a hand-waving answer. The question was WHY they had to. One has to assume that the reason is some local issue that none of us know about. I was curious if there was some specific non-local reason. As in, here is a technical and or fiscal advantage of burying the lines everywhere and always.

The fact that the other providers string their wires on poles, and Google wants to bury them means either that the other providers are dumb, OR something changed.

My current internet service is stable and fast. Google isn't going to fix anything for me on that score.
bro why do you think people on here know the contractors? You live by them, freakin ask to talk to their boss instead of acting snobby.
 

DLes

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I'm acting "snobby"? I'm asking a question, and I'm a little disappointed that there aren't any answers. Please chill. You must have better stuff to do than this.

As I said, the bosses of the road crews here say that the decision to bury cable is above their pay grade. But I'd welcome, from an expert like you, an appropriate contact.
 
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I'm acting "snobby"? I'm asking a question, and I'm a little disappointed that there aren't any answers. Please chill. You must have better stuff to do than this.

As I said, the bosses of the road crews here say that the decision to bury cable is above their pay grade. But I'd welcome, from an expert like you, an appropriate contact.
That's what I'm saying, you're shooting us down for not having any answers. You think we're all experts on what's happening between google and your local contractors. Discussion is all fine and good but getting upset at people for not having answers is rude. As you've said, you've asked him already, and for him to say it's above his pay grade would be your que to ask if you can get their bosses number.
I'm also not sure why this is such a big deal for you, underground wires are generally safer anyways. Much less maintenance to worry about, weather as has been mentioned. Laying out fiber lines only let's them tie in later if neighborhoods and such grow. I believe they're trying to get as many fiber lines out to where they can solely for that reason.
 

DLes

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Oooh, let's argue about who is behaving childishly. That sounds like fun.

I asked a question, and I was a little disappointed in answers that were not very helpful. As I said, it's fair to say, "Gosh, I don't know", but telling me that Google does it to save money just sort of avoids the question. HOW does it save money? I don't think I shot anyone down. I certainly wasn't acting "childish", and I am doing my own research by asking here for a start. I'm done here. Take care, y'all.
 

revodo

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Oooh, let's argue about who is behaving childishly. That sounds like fun.

I asked a question, and I was a little disappointed in answers that were not very helpful. As I said, it's fair to say, "Gosh, I don't know", but telling me that Google does it to save money just sort of avoids the question. HOW does it save money? I don't think I shot anyone down. I certainly wasn't acting "childish", and I am doing my own research by asking here for a start. I'm done here. Take care, y'all.
Sorry people are a-holes. Your question was legit.
 
Sep 23, 2020
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Oooh, let's argue about who is behaving childishly. That sounds like fun.

I asked a question, and I was a little disappointed in answers that were not very helpful. As I said, it's fair to say, "Gosh, I don't know", but telling me that Google does it to save money just sort of avoids the question. HOW does it save money? I don't think I shot anyone down. I certainly wasn't acting "childish", and I am doing my own research by asking here for a start. I'm done here. Take care, y'all.
It generates them money by affording their services to a bigger market. Being available for people that aren't you would be my guess.
 

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