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Fiber cuts, telcos and excavators

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Thu Oct 07 00:42:09 1999

"Derek J. Balling" <dredd@megacity.org> writes:
> I know some telcos do this already. When I worked for GTE (years ago),
> we had this construction guy calling into the call-center asking when
> the "call before you dig" guy would be there. We had no idea (I worked
> in the billing department at the time), and simply referred him back
> to the Dig-#.... he called about 10 times in 20 minutes (literally)
> and finally he said to the last rep "Fuck it, I'm digging..."

Sounds like the construction guy went out of his way to notify the
utility the cable locate guy hadn't shown up on time.

I have heard from the excavator community over the years.  They often
point out the utilities seem to not care, and don't show up to mark
their utilities on-time.  The famous telco appointment time of
between 8 and 5, if at all.  The excavator is losing money for every
minute the locate marker is late, or doesn't show up at all.  This
isn't a lot of profit margin in excavation.  Sometimes the choice is
between not digging and definitely going out of business, or digging
and possibly going out of business.

My question is where was the cable locate marker?  I know, people who
live in glass houses etc., and I guess I now live in a  glass house. 
But I wonder if telco's really consider it a high priority?  It wasn't
worth the effort to contact the repair or locate department before the
cut happened.  But afterwards when the "idiot overflow calls" started
coming in, then the call-center made the effort to contacted the other
departments.  How much money did the telco end up costing itself by
not making that call before the cut?

As far as sending a big bill to the contractor.  As has been pointed
out before, most excavators have the minimum insurance and few assets.
And the cynic may look at the number of contractors hired by utilities
to outsource their construction, as if it is just a shield.  There have
been a few cases of fiber laying contractors hired by a telco,
cutting the fiber of the same telco.  There is even a case in the last
six months of one telco's sub-contractor cutting their fiber, being
warned and fined; and doing the same thing a few weeks later.  The
last FCC outage report from the telco reported the telco will terminate
the sub-contactor, but not until after they finish the rest of the job.







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