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River Falls, WI

Why does fiber optic cable need to be buried?


I've done the obligatory minimum 30 minutes of web delving on the topic of fiber optic cable burial. It seems the best I have come up with is that some(?) of the cables have a gel(why?) that might freeze if placed above the frost line. I don't fully understand how that could be, if a fiber optic cable must enter a building that doesn't have a way to enter the building (basement) that is below 4 feet, what could one do? FTTH seems like a big deal, from my experience every time I've seen an connection to a network enter the home it has been through an above ground drilled hole.

I see the benefit of burying cable as being possibly being less likely to be disturbed or destroyed, but it is also significantly more expensive, is there a reason why fiber optic cable can't be hung on telephone poles?

Sorry if a topic such as this has been made, I wasn't able to find it (searched).



Fiber optical cables don't have to be buried. Cable and telco companies have optical and copper lines both aerial and underground.

Mr. Wireless

most of the optical fibre cables here in ontario are above ground, on poles.


Sacramento, CA
reply to pinjas
It has to do with building code in your area. Some areas just restrict overhead (telephone pole to building) cables and require everything to be buried.

Milford, NH
·FirstLight Fiber
·Hollis Hosting
·G4 Communications
reply to pinjas
Fiber and copper outside plant can be aerial or buried. Here in NH most outside plant is aerial because it is so much cheaper.

Not sure how you came to believe fiber has to be buried.

Benefit of buried outside plant is aesthetics and it somewhat less likely to get damaged. It is unaffected by falling trees and ice storms - but errant backhoes are a hug problem.

The down side is underground utilities are much more expensive then aerial and more expensive to repair if cable is damaged.



Buffalo, NY
reply to cyberbeing
No doubt due to the 'artsy-fartsy' stuck up suburban mentality that they don't seem to like overhead wires.

They would rather have their lawn, driveway and/or street dug up when something goes wrong.


Tarboro, NC
reply to pinjas
The gel in many burial cables is a flooding compound. It is there to prevent water intrusion. Though the gel type compound seems to be more and more phased out in favor of a powdered substance that expands on contact with moister to do the same thing. It is just suppose to be easer to work with (less messy) than the gel.

As for freezing point of the gel, i don't recall.
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