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FAQ

Need help with fiber optics, community networks, or tech consulting? We’re here for you.

Fiber Optic Networks

Does MCE build fiber optic networks?

MCE does not build the network itself. We provide the engineering design documents, scaled CAD plans, and Bidding Documents necessary for our customers to contract directly with labor and material vendors. This approach allows the customer to buy directly while still engaging MCE to manage the process on their behalf.

I have been told by my service provider rep that if I build a fiber optic network I will not have the proper personnel, tools and equipment to maintain it. Is this true?

MCE also works with you to register your facilities with the local one-call service so that when work takes place near your facilities, they are properly marked. Part of this registration process includes creating bidding documents and agreements with third-party locating contractors with the tools and personnel necessary to accurately paint your facilities during construction activities. Our robust network of contractors is ready for emergency restorations as well. In the unlikely event of an outage, we’ll align you with the proper resources to ensure your network is given the highest priority and restored as quickly as possible.

How can I make sure my existing fiber optic network is operating at peak performance?

If you’re planning an upgrade on the electronics or simply want to make sure you’re getting all the possible benefits your fiber optic network can offer, MCE can help. MCE has the tools necessary to inspect your network inside and out ensuring that there are no excessive losses across connector faces, no splices within the network that are operating outside normal tolerance levels, and that there are no outside obstructions or damage that pose potential risks to the operation of your network.

Community Area Networks

What is a Community Area network?

A Community Area Network, or CAN, consists of groups of people, each representing their specific interests and goals, who come together for the common good of creating a robust system of shared network connections within a community. The non-human portion of a CAN consists of a robust network of fiber optic cables, leased circuits, and other connections that are shared between multiple agencies, sites, or municipal entities.

How do I start a CAN in my community?

Starting a CAN is as simple as sitting down with your peers and sharing your goals. Granted, as the talks develop into action, many groups choose to create quasi-governing bodies to control the day-to-day activities related to the construction and sharing of facilities. MCE has worked with many CAN participants and has access to the tools necessary to bring your CAN to life.

Are there resources available to learn how others have navigated and overcome challenges in developing Community Area Networks (CAN)?

The best resources for CAN advice are other CAN members themselves. MCE has found that CAN members across the board are willing to share their experiences and knowledge with anyone interested in starting their own. MCE is ready to put you in touch with the people with the information you seek.

Am I able to share my CAN resources with non-municipal entities such as private, for-profit businesses in my community?

Every topic has a gray area, and CANs are no different. Care must be taken to ensure that the actions of CAN members do not infringe on the protections afforded service providers that are regulated under the Public Service Commission laws. MCE is well-versed in what a CAN participant can and cannot do. We are happy to field specific questions via our contact form.

Who can belong to a CAN?

CANs are open to public and private entities alike. However, care must be taken to ensure that the actions of CAN members do not infringe on the protections afforded service providers that are regulated under the Public Service Commission laws. Private service providers (Internet or otherwise) are often important CAN community members.

What if others in my community don’t share the same enthusiasm for creating a CAN that I have?

CANs often start small, as small as a single participant building their own connection for their own needs. CANs do not begin with all partners simultaneously; they evolve over time. Building your connections first offers immediate benefits to you while at the same time laying the foundations for something larger in the future. MCE designs networks that keep future connections and partnerships in mind so you don’t say, “I should have…”

General Questions

Should I install my fiber optic network in a star (point to multipoint) or ring (in and out where the out from one building becomes the in to the next) configuration?

MCE often creates estimates for both Star and Ring configurations. Star networks are always far less costly than rings; however, ring connections can be incorporated at various points depending on the site layout. Example: School District designs a ring network between their secondary sites and runs single legs from the secondary sites to the nearest K-5 sites.

I’ve heard of aerial and underground construction methods, which one is best for me?

There are pros and cons to both methods of construction, as well as personal preferences to take into consideration. Aerial construction, although more affordable than underground, leaves your fiber optic facility more exposed to the elements and vehicles. Underground construction takes more effort and has a higher associated cost. However, the facilities buried deep underground are less susceptible to damage. In some instances, unless grandfathered into an agreement, some utility pole owners do not allow private fiber optic installations on their poles. In these instances, the underground is the only option.

If I’ve decided to place my facilities underground, where should I place them, in public right of ways or on private easements?

It is always most efficient to place facilities within the public right of way. Acquisition of private easements is not guaranteed in all cases and could severely delay any intended installation. MCE designs our fiber optic networks to be placed nearest the right-of-way line as possible to avoid relocations.

How do I obtain the necessary authorizations and permissions to place my fiber optic network within the right of way or on the utility poles?

MCE ensures all right-of-way and pole accessories construction by obtaining all necessary permits for you. MCE contacts the right-of-way owners and utility pole owners to determine the costs for access and then includes those costs in the initial estimate documents.

If I have to relocate a portion of my network, who pays?

If a private development causes the need for relocation, the costs to engineer and relocate your facilities are borne by the developer. If the need for relocations is caused by the agency having right-of-way access jurisdiction, the relocation costs are passed to the facility owner, i.e., you. In these instances, multiple utilities will often relocate together and share the overall cost. MCE always recommends that facility owners create an account in escrow for such occasions.

What happens if someone damages my fiber optic network?

In most cases, the party causing the damage is liable for the repair costs. In rare instances where the damage is caused by the facility owner, the facility owner can have the restorations covered by insurance or pay for them outright, depending on their specific situation. If the damage is caused to an underground facility because it was improperly marked or not marked in time, the Utility locating company bears the repair costs.

Can I lease off unused portions of my fiber optic network?

As the facility owner, you can lease portions of your fiber optic cable or excess duct capacity as you see fit. Many facility owners achieve modest cost savings after the installation by leasing duct space or fiber strands to interested parties. This statement comes with one caveat: when a public entity leases a portion of its fiber optic network to a for-profit company, the public entity must make sure the lease is structured in a way that does not violate Public Service Commission rules. MCE is always available to offer guidance on this topic.

We’re ready when you are

When you partner with MCE, you get our dedication and commitment to delivering solutions that are right for your business. Contact us today to get started.