Frequently Asked Questions

A short list of our most frequently asked questions.

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 customer to contract directly with labor and material vendors. This approach allows the customer to buy direct, 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 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 who have the tools and personnel necessary to accurately paint your facilities during construction activities. Our robust network of contractors are at the 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 poses 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 that can help me identify pitfalls and obstacles that were overcome by those who have already been down the CAN path?

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 who have 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 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 is able and unable to. 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 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 oftentimes important members of the CAN community.

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. CAN’s do not begin with all partners at once, they evolve over time. Building your connections first offers immediate benefits to you while at the same time lays the foundations for something larger in the future. MCE designs networks that keep future connections and partnerships in mind so you don’t find yourself saying “I should have…”

Nuts & Bolts

A more in-depth look at fiber optic networks.

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 ring, however, depending on the site layout, ring connections can be incorporated to various points. 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 therefore has a higher associated cost, however, the facilities buried deep in the ground 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, 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 placing 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 that all right of way access and pole access is secured prior to construction by obtaining all necessary permits on your behalf. MCE contacts the right of way owners and utility pole owners to determine the costs for access, then includes those costs in the initial estimate documents.

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

If the need for relocation is caused by a private development, the costs to engineer and relocate your facilities is 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 oftentimes relocate together and share in the overall cost. MCE always recommends that facility owners create an account to be held 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 has the option to 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 repair costs are borne by the Utility locating company.

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

As the facility owner, you have the right to 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 their 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.

How can I thank MCE for sharing all this valuable information?

No thanks are necessary, we’re just happy to help. Thank you for your interest in MCE and what we can offer. Have a great day!

We’re Here to Help.

If you didn’t find the answers you were looking for, please send us a message.

Phone: 920.301.7900 Toll-free: 877.870.6968
413 S. Madison St. Green Bay, WI 54301

© Multimedia Communications & Engineering, Inc. (MCE)