will fiber on telephone poles help with electric

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25,968
Location
Upstate NY
I was driving this past weekend after the storm and something had ripped down a telephone pole that carried fiber and electric. There were many trucks there involved in the repair including one specially marked for fiber optic. So my (unproven) theory is that since its such a PIA to fix fiber when it gets damaged, that they will do a much better job of cutting trees around wires (and fiber) than they use to for just wires. Thus our electricity will be more reliable given better attention to cutting trees around the wires.
 
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Messages
17,501
Location
Clovis, CA
<span style="font-family: 'Verdana'">Over here in Clovis, they only cut the trees around the top high voltage lines. The lower lines that are the cable TV and phone lines get trampled by trees and bushes. My neighbor has a giant bush that turned into a tree that has a heavy branch laying on the cable TV line. It's putting so much pressure on the cable TV line, I'm amazed the line hasn't snapped yet.</span>
 
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2,789
Location
Indiana
Our country would look a lot more beautiful if all the poles were taken down. Ever drive down a country road and notice how "nice" everything looks, and then realize, there are no telephone poles lining the ditches? I HATE TELEPHONE POLES!!
 
Messages
341
Location
Alaska
There's no mystery--it's a lot cheaper to string lines above ground than it is to bury them. If trimming back vegetation proves to be more expensive than repairing X number of "tree events" per year, then less trimming will occur. It's all about the almighty dollar...
 
Messages
10,907
Location
MA
Originally Posted By: Miller88
I never understood why it just doesn't go underground like in other places around the world ...
I think I read somewhere that it cost 10x as much to put the wires in the ground. That's why they're up on poles. Makes sense in a congested city, not so much when everything is spread out.
 
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4,998
Location
Milwaukee, WI
About a decade ago I worked for a communications company, a few thoughts relevant to this thread: 1. The vast majority of our fiber did run underground. The only aboveground was where it would run along high tension lines, not normal point of service telephone poles. The stuff you see along a "telephone pole" is for end users and no one cares about that, no one will go and trim those, since it's not worth the cost. Perhaps the "last mile" to a big customer might go along these, but I never saw that. 2. Yes, the trees would be better cut (that was part of my job). If multiple utilities share an easement nothing stops a second from going though. I suppose it depends on the local laws and the easement restrictions, but we were scorched earth whereas the electric company seems to be minimally invasive. 3. I didn't work for a cable tv or a phone company. I'm talking providing networking to ISP's, universities, broadcast stations via a multiple connector cable. I'm not sure what you saw being repaired, now that Google Fiber and FIOS exists maybe they need a fiber repair for a line that doesn't get the attention ours did.
 
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7,256
Location
USA
A few ice storms with extended outages has both broken all the tree limbs enough to stop the frequent outages we used to incur. Also the state went after my electric utility along with poor public relations motivated them to clean the easement along the lines. We made it through the 4th largest power outage in state history with 1hr loss! I used to loose power 2-3 hrs per month minimum and sometime 1 week strech and live in relatively urban area! Now rarely and thankfully as we have a well. I think the fiber would help motivate the cutting around poles.
 

Donald

Thread starter
Messages
25,968
Location
Upstate NY
The one I saw was a Times Warner fiber optic truck. I also saw them stringing fiber to a new cell tower in the country. It was on the poles.
 
Messages
18,168
Location
NH
I doubt it'll make a difference. As noted, in some places trees are sitting on cable/TV. If anything, they have to clear trees less, as a branch on the line won't cause problems. Just add a steel leader, or make the bolts that secure the line to the pole easy to shear. Might be a nuisance to string back up, but if the line doesn't break then it's no major job. * Coworker is from Germany, and he said that he noticed all the telephone poles and wires when he first got here. And it bugged him. But after a few months it dawned on him: he no longer noticed them. Background noise. One of the small joys in life (for me) is to be out on my bicycle and get someplace where the road stretches out before me yet there are no poles nor wires in sight.
 
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4,443
Location
Guilford, CT
I work for an electric utility. Putting lines underground is not as simple as digging a ditch, throwing the wires in it, and backfilling. There's a ton of planning and engineering that goes into converting an overhead system to underground. The planning and engineering alone costs thousands of dollars, and that's before any actual construction begins. And underground systems aren't the be-all end-all solution for reliability. Underground systems can and do fail all the time, and restoration times are much longer: since you can't readily see a broken wire when it's buried under the ground, it takes longer to figure out where the problem is. And when you do find where the problems is, it takes longer to pull new wire through the conduit. If the conduit is crushed, you need to dig up the ground, lay new conduit, then pull new wire....all the while the customers still don't have power until the job is done. My utility has been aggressively trimming back trees, which has caused a lot of outrage from customers and mayors. But these are the same people who will complain and yell "Why didn't you cut the trees?!" when a storm causes major outages everywhere... duh
 
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10,907
Location
MA
It's very simple why they didn't cut the trees, there were several utilities that cut back on their budget for trimming trees so that's why they have more outages. Some local utilities were better at trimming the trees so they had fewer outages. Cutting the tree budget saved them tens of millions which just went to pad the CEO's salary now that they were making more money.
 
Messages
4,443
Location
Guilford, CT
Originally Posted By: Wolf359
It's very simple why they didn't cut the trees, there were several utilities that cut back on their budget for trimming trees so that's why they have more outages. Some local utilities were better at trimming the trees so they had fewer outages. Cutting the tree budget saved them tens of millions which just went to pad the CEO's salary now that they were making more money.
Oh yeah, the budget cuts weren't so more money could go towards improving infrastructure, maintenance to extend equipment life, or repairing broken equipment, it was all for the CEO. smirk
 
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36,513
Location
ME
Usually the PoCo owns the poles and has the topmost wires. They rent them out to phone, CATV, and anyone else. The signal wires run closer to ground. I would expect the PoCo to maintain the trees etc but it's just a guess. You can fit a ton of stuff on a single line of fiber, so if you have two parallel lines you almost certainly have redundancy. OTOH if you don't, if you're hub & spoke, a fiber outage is a big deal. It might be cheaper for them to run 2x or 3x more fiber on poles than to do it reliably. And since the cable company isn't regulated like a utility, they don't have the same incentives to be reliable. (My business leases some fiber and stuff takes a very definite hub & spoke trip to get where it's going.)
 

CT8

Messages
15,392
Location
Idaho
Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Over here in Clovis, they only cut the trees around the top high voltage lines. The lower lines that are the cable TV and phone lines get trampled by trees and bushes. My neighbor has a giant bush that turned into a tree that has a heavy branch laying on the cable TV line. It's putting so much pressure on the cable TV line, I'm amazed the line hasn't snapped yet.
The power companies rent the pole space to the telephone companies.
 
Messages
9,560
Location
Boston, MA
In MANY areas telephone and/or telegraph infrastructure PREDATED AC power distribution, Especially in the Northeast Bell Telephone owned a LOT poles and right of ways for their phone system. Western Union also owned a lot. Look on the pole, there's usually a little metal label indicating the owner. I have some utility frequencies in my scanner. There's often a discussion with dispatch about who owns a damaged pole.
 
Messages
8,859
Location
Texas
Fiber repair isn't a big deal anymore. Specialized van with specialized equipment, and much more automated than it was in the early days. I think they'll still invest more on keeping limbs away from the high voltage lines than they ever will telephone, coax, and fiber.
 
Messages
11,196
Location
NY Capital District
Originally Posted By: eljefino
Usually the PoCo owns the poles and has the topmost wires. They rent them out to phone, CATV, and anyone else. The signal wires run closer to ground. I would expect the PoCo to maintain the trees etc but it's just a guess. You can fit a ton of stuff on a single line of fiber, so if you have two parallel lines you almost certainly have redundancy. OTOH if you don't, if you're hub & spoke, a fiber outage is a big deal. It might be cheaper for them to run 2x or 3x more fiber on poles than to do it reliably. And since the cable company isn't regulated like a utility, they don't have the same incentives to be reliable. (My business leases some fiber and stuff takes a very definite hub & spoke trip to get where it's going.)
Typically, it's actually your local phone company who owns the power poles. Not always but in most areas that I've seen that is the case.
 
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