The road to fiber: how fiber optic infrastructure gets built

By Christine Ottoni

The most common question we get about Ting Internet is “when can I get it?” It speaks to the need for infrastructure much faster and more reliable than the old copper networks. Copper simply wasn’t designed to provide Internet access.

While we’d love to get the whole of North America wired (glassed?) up with the access it so sorely needs, it bears mentioning that fiber is a marathon, not a sprint.

While the road to fiber can feel long, it’s a worthy pursuit. Increasingly, towns need fiber infrastructure to participate in today’s digital economy, access educational resources, provide cutting-edge healthcare and more.

We’ll walk you through some of the specifics of how Ting builds networks and partners with your community to bring crazy fast Internet to American homes and businesses.


Identifying a town

There’s no one factor that makes a town or city a candidate for Ting crazy fast fiber Internet. It’s a combination of density, desire and demographics. We’re fortunate to hear from people and municipalities that want the benefits fiber brings.

We invite town leadership and citizens to open the conversation. There are things that municipal leadership can do to make their town or city more attractive to a fiber Internet provider like Ting. We’ll leave it to the boss to run through a few of those.

Once a city, town or community lets us know they want to partner with Ting, we consider whether we’re a good fit for that town’s needs. We do our best to ensure Ting and the municipality are a good match.


Planning and design

Once we decide to go ahead, we start planning the fiber build. Ting partners with city staff and officials and together we take a look at existing infrastructure. We look for utility paths and explore permitting options in the easement or right-of-way. Permitting is a large part of our planning process and is highly collaborative work between Ting and local officials.

We explore the type of fiber construction methods we’ll use. Every town’s needs are different and where one town might be prepared for fiber running through conduit underground, other localities might require aerial installation with the fiber carrier medium strung along utility poles. Ting works with municipal offices to ensure we’re following all construction and contracting best practices and laws.

Design is a key part of planning and we carefully map out the route of our fiber network build in phases. You can read a bit more about how demand plays into our design plans below under Pre-order.

Community engagement

When we start planning and designing the network, there’s a good chance you’ll see our Ting Team out and about at some events in your town.

We start by hosting town hall meetings where the community can come out and ask questions about Ting fiber. We also attend and sponsor local events like farmer’s markets, pool parties, festivals and more so community members and residents have a chance to say hello and ask us about fiber Internet in general or Ting in particular.

We hire locally for most construction, build management and local marketing roles. You’ll also be able to find us easily online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and reddit. You can post on our wall, respond to a Tweet or drop us a line whenever you want. We’re always available to talk or answer any questions.

Pre-order

You can pre-order Ting as soon as we announce we’re coming to town.

What’s does pre-ordering mean? Aside from securing the best possible discount on installation (up to an including the full cost of installation and then some), a $9 pre-order is a more than just a deposit. It’s a vote for your neighborhood to get fiber first and it puts you and other pre-orders at the top of the list when we start building on your street.

There are many factors that go into determining where the fiber build begins in your town. Pre-order density is a deciding factor and something that anyone who’s interested can do easily. We tend to build where there’s the most demand first. It just makes sense.

When we announce construction in a particular neighborhood we’ll also let that area know what their deadline is to pre-order. Send us your pre-order by the deadline to get the best possible discount on Ting Internet.

Construction

We announce we’re breaking ground on our blog, with an email to everyone that pre-ordered in your town and with dedicated communications for the neighborhoods affected. We’ll let you know what to expect from construction, talk about the construction methods we’ll be using and provide contact information for our local construction team should you have any questions or concerns.

We announce our build in phases, leading with a Pilot Phase or Phase 1, and roll out subsequent phases from there. Construction timelines depend on a lot of factors including permitting from municipalities, state transportation departments and even other existing utilities.

We split construction into two main stages. We like to call the first dirt and hard work. This is where our teams dig to put conduit in the ground. Conduit carries the super thin glass fibers that will carry information to homes and businesses.

The second stage of construction is where we bring fiber to homes and businesses, ready to get them lit, which is to say online with crazy fast fiber Internet.

Installation

The last step as far as an end user is concerned is getting connected. If you pre-ordered, the Ting Internet valet team will reach out to schedule your installation as soon as possible. It’s worth noting that our installation appointments are appointments, not broad windows.

Fiber comes to your home or business in a little white plastic square. In industry parlance, an ONT or “optical network termination.” From there, you can plug in your Ting Internet Box or use your own router. We strongly recommend the Ting Internet Box because it’s built for gigabit speeds and offers super fast Wi-Fi to all your devices, too.

Installation can take up to three hours. Most of the work is done outside and the install team only needs to be inside for about an hour. Our install team will bring the fiber cable to your home or business from the main fiber network and will set up your Ting Internet Box so you’re ready to go.


Fiber to the home

So, there you have it. The long story of how fiber goes from hope to reality to your home or business.

Connecting cities and towns street by street, business by business, house by house, is a big job. Fiber is the only infrastructure that’s built specifically with the Internet in mind. It replaces aged copper networks to bring fast and, equally important, reliable Internet access.

Bringing fiber to town means much more than just better Internet access today. It brings potential for a better tomorrow.

From a town that could use some fiber?

We want to hear from you. Let us know where we should build next.

I want fiber

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