Georgia County Searches for Buried Fiber

Georgia County Searches for Buried Fiber

Much of the nation’s fiber-optic network was laid during the 1990s and early 2000s. Demand did not materialize as rapidly as expected, which resulted in billions, possibly trillions of dollars of unused fiber-optic cable buried across America. This fiber graveyard could be buried treasure and many communities are working to resurrect it.

Columbia County, Georgia recently received a federal grant to map the miles and miles of buried fiber located underneath their town.

Columbia County’s GIS Department is manually mapping the buried cables with crews walking every square foot of the county with handheld GNSS units. Columbia County aims to strengthen its broadband network so that it can provide free Wi-Fi at all county public parks, libraries, community centers and schools. The new network would also link government and utility buildings, schools and traffic sensors on one common network.

After mapping all of the buried fiber optic cables, Columbia County plans to install 220 miles of new fiber optic cable and five new wireless relay towers. With these upgrades, Columbia County will offer contracts to Internet service providers who can then run their own private lines to businesses and houses. The project hopes to generate long-term revenue for the county.

Columbia County’s fiber crew consisted of two employees on foot. One would use the GIS mapping device while the other one would mark a cable’s location with spray paint. The crews collected fiber data on foot at a rate of about one mile every 15 minutes. For every hour spent in the field, it took about 15 additional minutes in the office to edit the data.

For communities that are looking to map their buried fiber assets but don’t have the time or manpower to invest in walking the field, GeoTel Communications offers a timesaving method. GeoTel Communications specializes in mapping telecommunications infrastructure with GIS data to produce telecom maps. If your community is looking to find fiber, GeoTel Communication — through our fiber network maps, fiber lit buildings, and other fiber data sets — can help analyze local fiber infrastructure so you can decide how best to enhance your high-speed connectivity needs. Contact GeoTel Communications at (800) 277-2172 for a customized quote.

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Valerie Stephen
valeriestephen@geo-tel.com