Q. How does Fiber connect build a fiber optic network to serve residents and businesses?
A. The process begins with a network-wide design. Fiber Connect lays out the path and size of the fiber cable, the location of connection points where premises will connect to the network and the location of the Head End - the terminal where all connections meet and tie into upstream internet providers.
Next, comes a survey of the community-to be-wired utility poles. All poles are listed with GPS location, street name and pole owner noted. Egremont and Monterey each have approx. 2,000 poles. National Grid and Verizon mostly own the poles.
With the survey done, the Make Ready phase starts. This phase is considered the most time-consuming, often the costliest and the most-out-of-control portion of Fiber Connect's build out. See a detailed explanation of Make Ready below.
Unlike some ISPs, Fiber Connect does not wait until all the Make Ready is complete. They begin the next step which is hanging and lashing fiber optic cable to licensed poles.
With fiber on the poles, Fiber Connect begins drops to premises. Drops are either aerial or underground through already existing conduits or newly dug conduits. Look below to watch a video of Fiber Connect's crew pulling, lashing and setting up drops to premises.
As drops are being made, connection points are created to tie-in subscribers to the network. Connection points are then mapped to the network's Head End. Again, look below to watch a video of Fiber Connect's technicians splicing the closures housing the connection points. This is the last phase before a subscriber is LIT.
To stay up-to-date with Fiber Connect's progress in Egremont, Monterey, Great Barrington or any other area of where they have a footprint, go to The Berkshire Town Network page of our website.
Q. What is Make Ready?
A. Make Ready is the process of preparing utility poles to receive a new attachment and, in Fiber Connect's case, a fiber optic cable.
There are 5 steps in the Make Ready process.
- Step One: Fiber Connect makes an application to the pole owners requesting a survey and engineering status of the poles. In the case of Egremont and Monterey, National Grid and Verizon are the pole owners.
- Step Two: The pole owner determines if there's room for Fiber Connect's cable plus rules out any issues with safety or capacity. This step involves consulting a complex set of rules and codes in determining pole work to be done.
- Step Three: The pole owner sends Fiber Connect an estimated Make Ready cost that's open to negotiation. The cost covers any repairs to the pole, the moving of existing wires and, if necessary, a replacement pole. This cost must be paid before the process moves forward. Any discrepancies in the estimated costs are adjusted later.
- Step Four: Every entity that has something attached to a pole must send a crew out to move their wires to make space for Fiber Connect.
- Step Five: Fiber Connect gets their pole license and can now send out crews to hang and splice cable.
Problems are frequently encountered in Make Ready creating uncontrollable delays to Fiber Connect. The negotiation process with pole owners can cause a delay and, in the case of poles near airports of any size, FAA clearance is required. Delays arise when priority is given to storm damage repairs. And, any sizeable backlog of pole applications will further slow the process.