We know the wait for fiber internet installation can be tough. Winter adds to the technical challenges of fiber installation. Frozen ground, shorter days with less sunlight, excessive moisture from melting snow and heavy rains drenching the soil—all of these issues and more can make it exceedingly difficult to bury and install fiber. It’s also a riskier time for our crew of technicians.
While permanent fiber installation may sometimes be delayed during winter and early spring, temporary drops can help deliver the high-speed internet you’ve been waiting for—even if you’ll have to wait for better, safer weather and ground conditions for final installation with buried fiber internet lines.
Below we provide answers to common questions about temporary drops and help explain the installation process so you’ll know what to expect.
What exactly is a temporary drop?
A temporary drop, also referred to as a temp drop, is simply an above-ground fiber internet connection line that provides fiber internet service temporarily to your home until weather and ground conditions are feasible and safe enough to bury the fiber line in the ground.
What kinds of conditions necessitate temp drops?
There are two common reasons why Trailblazer Broadband may not be able to bury the fiber and complete installation during the winter and early spring.
#1: The ground is frozen.
During winter and early spring, the colder temperatures can make the ground too hard to dig and bury fiber or to pull it through frozen conduit. And just because the temperatures warm up for a few days doesn’t necessarily mean the conditions are improved enough to complete the installation. In general, the ground must be fully thawed at least one foot deep, which can take weeks of 60-degree-plus temperatures, depending on the soil’s physical and chemical composition.
#2: The ground is too wet.
The winter and spring can bring heavy precipitation, from heavy snows and snow melts to days of rain. When the soil is over-saturated, it is simply not feasible to install fiber optic lines below ground safely and effectively. Additionally, burying fiber when the ground is too wet can upset lawns, flowerbeds, trees, and other vegetation—not to mention upset your neighbors and their lawns, too!
What are the steps to installing a temporary drop?
After determining that the conditions do not support burying fiber, a temp drop is authorized. Our technicians will then connect the fiber vault near the street that supplies your neighborhood with internet service to your home via a fiber line placed above-ground to your home.
So instead of burying the fiber in the ground, the temp drop keeps the fiber line above the ground and connected to your home, temporarily, until the buried installation can occur when the weather and other conditions improve.
According to Kim Smith, Trailblazer Broadband Customer Experience Manager, “We will make every attempt to run along the best path to bring a temp drop to the location, but please keep in mind that in some cases it is not possible to run temporary line if the fiber run to the home is too long or crosses a drive. We will not leave temp lines across your driveway because driving over it can damage the line.” In some cases, fiber drops cross over neighboring property, but as with other utilities, there is a “right-of-way” that permits this if necessary. Finally, wildlife damage to fiber can also be a concern, so if possible Trailblazer will pull the fiber through conduit that is then laid on the ground for burial at another time.
Is the temp drop line safe?
Yes! While we don’t recommend you handle the line, it is not dangerous. Fiber technology consists of tiny glass strings that transmit light. So unlike live electrical wires, there is no risk of electric shock.
However, we suggest that you do your best to avoid the line while tending to yard work or clearing snow. Although the fiber lines are sturdy, snowplows and other equipment and tools can sometimes harm the line, necessitating more technical support—not to mention the inconvenience of losing internet!
When will my temporary drop be buried?
Temp drops for Trailblazer customers will be addressed and buried as soon as conditions allow. In most cases, the team will need to wait for clear ground and warmer temps to be able to obtain locates and have favorable enough conditions to be able to get the work completed. Since the past winter has been colder than average, we have a number of these to complete later in the spring/summer, so there may be a longer-than-normal wait.
Trailblazer Broadband greatly appreciates your patience as we complete this work and as well as completing the buildout to provide you with fast, reliable fiber internet as efficiently and quickly as possible! As always, feel free to reach out us with any questions or concerns.
Trailblazer Broadband is municipally owned and is Estes Park’s only locally supported high-speed broadband service provided over fiber optic lines. The Town of Estes Park provides information only and does not endorse any of the listed companies, the views they express or the products/services they offer. For more information about internet
service, contact Trailblazer Broadband at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970)577-3770. More Trailblazer news is available at www.trailblazerbroadband.com and https://www.facebook.com/TrailblazerBroadband/Back to Blog