Almost all areas already have existing telecommunications infrastructure, but many neighborhoods and cities aren’t yet completely built out with fiber-optic technology. Providers like Hunter are working to construct new networks throughout the country.
Constructing an entirely new fiber-optic network is a complex, multi-step process. In this blog, we explain how Hunter decides where to expand our network and how we construct a new fiber network in those areas.
Before we begin construction, our teams identify cities or neighborhoods for potential expansion. Several factors play a role in how we decide where to bring our network including:
- Area Interest and Demand
We collect interest information on our website to determine areas that would like Hunter’s fiber-optic internet.
- Existing Infrastructure
Our GIS and engineering teams evaluate if we already have existing infrastructure in the area. Hunter serves many governments, schools, and hospitals throughout the state. These are known as “anchor institutions” which will later enable the deployment of residential fiber internet in the area. We also evaluate existing infrastructure like utility poles from other providers.
- Number of Passings
Our teams take into account how many homes and businesses can be served in a certain area. Hunter’s goal is to deliver fiber-optic internet to as many people as fast as possible.
After determining which areas we will expand to, our GIS and engineering team begin designing our new fiber-optic network. This process includes gathering data on existing infrastructure and applying for permits.
Hunter’s Existing Infrastructure and Network Map
During this phase, we also need to locate underground utilities and understand easement and right of way access.
Our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team gathers data on geology, roads, building location, and poles throughout the area. At this time, also, our teams map out existing utilities like power, water, and sewer lines.
In addition to exploring GIS data, our team visits the area to evaluate the existing utility poles. They walk along the pole lines throughout neighborhoods to identify and evaluate the exisiting poles.
With mapping and pole walking information, the engineering team can create detailed plans for the new network. They map out where we can build based on existing infrastructure including existing poles and underground utility lines. Sometimes this can be a complicated planning process due to several factors including permitting, complex terrain, or railroads.
Much of the design phase involves coordinating with local governments, utility companies, and other internet service providers.
When designing a network in a new area, our teams also have to determine the cabling pathways both throughout the neighborhoods and back to our point of presence (PoP) which connects residents to the rest of the internet.
This is also the time that our teams determine which construction method–aerial or underground–we will employ. Aerial construction could include installing new poles, acquiring permission to use already existing poles, and implementing pole improvements to prepare for installation (also known as the make-ready process). With aerial installation, deployment can be much faster and more cost-effective.
Underground installation comes with its own challenges. For example, some soil types can be difficult if not impossible to install. Underground installation, while it might be more aesthetically pleasing, can often be more expensive.
Permitting and Easements
During the design phase, our teams begin applying for permits. These can take longer in certain areas; some permits are issued quickly while others can take up to six months.
If the new network has or will require access to poles or fiber lines on private property, we must also get permission from the individual landowners unless there is an existing utility easement on the property.
Once our plans are outlined, the engineers pass the job along to our construction team. The duration of construction depends on several factors including:
- Existing conduit and utility poles
- Construction type
- Weather delays
When construction begins, our crews follow the engineering plans and lay miles of fiber-optic cables throughout the area. In some instances, they might also have to install new poles.
Once construction is complete, our splicing teams can begin their work.
Splicing is required for two reasons: 1) to join cables for long runs and 2) to terminate fiber into transmission equipment.
The fiber is fusion spliced together with a machine and put into a splicing tray and then stored in an enclosure or cabinet.
After splicing is finished, our teams test the network to make sure each splice and fiber cable is working and that light levels are operating properly.
Once testing and provisioning is complete, service will become available, and we notify those who have previously expressed interest. Residents can then schedule an installation for the fiber to be brought directly to their house.
Intersted in Hunter Fiber? Check to see if service is available at your address today!