Verizon builds fiber network old-fashioned way - TvTechnology

Verizon builds fiber network old-fashioned way

The telco's largest construction project is costing billions of dollars and involving thousands of workers.
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Although Verizon's new fiber-optic FiOS network sounds futuristic, it's being built in a low tech way.

So far, the Associated Press reports, the path to the future has been marked by more than a few ruptured utility pipes, split cables and dug-up driveways as the company plows its way to doors of new customers.

The telco's largest construction project is costing billions of dollars and involving thousands of workers. The project replaces a vast copper-wire network with fiber-optic cables.

The ultimate goal is to deliver video-on-demand and hundreds of channels of high-definition television, as well as Internet connections hundreds of times faster than most broadband lines.

Verizon officials acknowledge start-up problems with FiOS, now available in parts of California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Virginia. But they claim a dramatic decline in the number of damage incidents since construction began in 2004.

Some officials and utilities agree that Verizon's performance has improved, but they add this often came after stern warnings, halted jobs and stiff penalties. Others say complaints, even if fewer in number, are to be expected wherever the project moves and especially in communities with mostly underground pipes and cables.

Verizon's project has forced communities to hire people to monitor work and to protect their facilities, such as electric, gas and water lines, AP reported.

Cable operators, Verizon's competitors, are also taking a hit. AP reported that Comcast’s cables in Maryland have been cut 4700 times since May 2005, affecting service to 50,000 customers and causing $1.3 million in direct damage. The company has seen fewer problems in Virginia, partly because the state has stiffer regulations and enforcement.