RSF Connect Update: Best Estimate First Customer Service in June

Inside the central office

Work on the fiber optic central office has been progressing. The building exterior is almost finished. Electrical is almost complete. It looks like they’ll be placing a pad mount transformer on the lower front left of the building for power. The inside looks nice too, with the interior ceiling being more functional than I had feared.

By the way, that red conduit on the ceiling is for the very expensive fire suppression system the County/Fire Department forced us to install. This for a concrete block building that will have almost no flammables inside. No wonder it is so expensive to build anything around here!

They’ve also mounted the redundant outside HVAC units. These inverter systems will run very quietly. The backup power generator has also been placed. These are all located in an enclosed half wall area beside the building and won’t be visible.

HP Communications continues to install conduit in our streets. All the rain we’ve been getting has so far added several weeks to their planned project timeline. Trenching is not allowed during a downpour due to storm water regulations.

Hopefully soon, HP will start the complex task of pulling and installing fiber optic cables into the conduit they’ve been installing. Back in October, I estimated the first customers would be lit by April. I now think that’s a bit too optimistic. The central office building might be finished by some time in April, but I don’t see them having pulled, spliced and terminated enough fiber by April to turn on any customers. In particular, they still need to purchase and install fiber termination racks inside the central office to terminate all 2,000+ strands, not to mention that our ISP, Race, needs to install and test their powered equipment.

So, my personal best guess is now June for first customer service, assuming there are no hiccups along the way, and we don’t keep getting pounded by rain storms.

Got questions? Please ask.

P.S. A reader did ask, what’s up with the annoying trench placement in the roads? Here’s my answer:

The placement of the trenches is pretty much mandated by a) trying not to close both sides of a road (so the trench must be on one side or the other), b) needing to keep away from other existing utilities, and c) complying with County requirements to stay at least 18″ off the side of the pavement.

Having said that, I wish HP would trench at the side of the road (and not on the road) more than they have been doing. Given that it should be cheaper to trench off the road, I suspect there are good reasons why they generally don’t (like needing to keep away from existing utilities or County requirements).

The temporary patches do seem to take a while to get properly patched with final permanent asphalt, but I think that’s been due to our frequent rain storms as well. The asphalt contractor can finish trenches much faster than they can be dug, so they batch up several trenches before they come out and do a bunch of them at once. But our rain has been getting in the way, leaving the trenches with temporary patches for longer than what we would like.

Once the permanent patches are done, you can’t tell the difference on the road layer, except for the color difference, but even that fades over a few months.


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