Construction Process

  • The construction of a fiber optic network is a complex and lengthy process.
  • Numerous contractors are required, and the entire process can take 6 to 12 months to complete, depending upon the length of the circuit, the terrain, soil types, the presence of rock, weather, the availability of materials, and other external factors.
  • Most MEC distribution lines are a mix of overhead and underground construction.

Step By Step Process

The following discussion covers the steps of fiber construction along overhead distribution lines.


Step 1

  • After our engineers create the basic fiber line design, field stakes go to each pole to determine what modifications are required to support the fiber and meet clearance requirements of the National Electric Safety Code (NESC).
  • Line crews will install taller poles, move transformers from one side of the pole to the other, move wires on the pole, and add new guy wires and anchors to the poles all to prepare for future fiber installation.
  • In addition to creating the design, the next steps include obtaining VDOT and/or Railroad permits, staking, coordinating with Miss Utility, finalizing ROW easements, and procuring material … all of these must be done before fiber construction can begin.
  • This work has the widest variance in time of all construction phases.
  • The make-ready construction phase can take five months or more to complete.


Step 2

  • The construction team will string fiber pole to pole or bury fiber cables underground to connect your neighborhood to our fiber network.
  • This process can take up to another three months. You may see us digging holes and plowing in fiber during this stage.
  • When we’re done, we will return all green spaces to the way we found them. Fiber construction in this step can take four to eight weeks on each line.


Step 3

  • Once the fiber cable is installed, a technician will splice all fiber at each cable end and tap point.
  • They will splice the necessary cables and mount the splices in enclosures secured to distribution poles or in pedestals.
  • This splicing work can take another three to six weeks for main lines.


Step 4

  • The next step is service drop cable installation.
  • This work can be done in parallel with some of the earlier work, or it might be done after the main line fiber is in place.
  • Drop crews will extend fiber from the nearest mainline splice point to the structure receiving service.
  • This crew will also leave coils of fiber at the main line and the structure.


Step 5

  • The final outdoor step of fiber drop construction is the splicing of the drop.
  • The splice technician connects the last length of fiber at the tap point and mounts a network interface device (NID) at the structure with the final splice being made inside the NID box.
  • The service is now ready to turn over to EMPOWER Broadband for scheduling in-home installation.