Cutting edge broadband technology makes Google Fiber lightning fast at 1,000 megabits per second (mbps) compared to the 12 mbps average the United States currently has. The installation process on the other hand, is anything but. A complicated installation process is one of the biggest reasons why Google Fiber is currently only being built in select cities around the nation. One of those cities, Nashville, Tennessee, is currently at the tail end of year one of a proposed three-year build-out.
The project requires hundreds of workers and several contractors. According to The Tennessean, construction — which began in June 2015 — includes installing 18 fiber huts, which transmit signals to 20,000 homes each, on properties throughout the city and attaching fiber to more than 100,000 utility poles. In total, 3,200 miles of fiber will be laid out throughout Davidson County.
With the flurry of activity around the Nashville area, Ditch Witch of Tennessee has been busy. The company’s strategy for serving contractors laying the fiber has been to provide a turnkey package, which consists of five separate units: a Ditch Witch drill, a Ditch Witch vacuum excavator, a Ditch Witch mud system on a trailer, and a Kubota excavator with a Chicago Pneumatic (CP) breaker attached. The turnkey package has made the dealership the first stop for Google Fiber contractors.
“Our strategy has been to try to be a one-stop package for these contractors who are installing fiber,” says Ray Romano, owner of Ditch Witch of Tennessee. “It is a lengthy process to lay the fiber, but the job is consistently the same throughout, which is why our turnkey package has been so successful in Nashville — it is everything they need in one package, which ultimately creates fewer headaches for these contractors.”
The CP breakers have been crucial on the Google Fiber jobsite for a multitude of reasons. Before starting to bore with the drill, the contractor has to dig a starting pit in which they use the CP breaker to break up the concrete or rock. But, the breakers have also become really handy in critical and emergency situations.
“We have seen contractors get their drill stuck in the ground when they have been in the middle of a bore and use the CP breaker to loosen up the pit,” Romano says. “Other times they have gone in the middle of the bore to break rock that is anywhere from 6 to 10 feet below the surface to get to their drill rod and recover their tooling when it has been stuck in the ground.”
The emergency situations have popped up for different contractors more than a couple times since the project started, and the breakers saved them a lot of money by aiding the retrieval of their underground drilling tools. Ditch Witch of Tennessee carries the CP RX4, RX6, and RX8 breakers in its lineup and has rented over a dozen of the CP breakers to contractors who are working on the Google Fiber project.
“The contractors on the project love the CP breakers and they have been very reliable and cost-effective,” says Romano. “It is a huge undertaking in implementing the Google Fiber, but it really is a big deal for the city. Nashville still has a ways to go yet before it is finished, but a lot of people here are excited to receive the service.”
Neighborhood by neighborhood, contractors in Nashville will continue to splice and lay fiber, likely for another two years. The Google Fiber network is expected to continue to grow. As the network expands to new cities, the sheer speed of the next generation of internet and television will set fire to today’s standard.