FAQ: Gigabit Fiber Construction
The private utility company Google Fiber is constructing new communications infrastructure. The work includes the installation of gigabit fiber throughout Hillsborough, which should bring more services, capabilities, and choices for those living and doing business in our community. Gigabit fiber internet is a network that offers internet connection speeds of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) or higher.
The Town of Hillsborough is not performing this work, which is a private project owned and operated by Google and its contractors. Google has the legal right to operate within rights of way of the town and of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Any activity on privately owned property requires approval of the property owner. The town is responsible for inspecting the work in its public rights of way to ensure restoration is completed to an acceptable condition.
Google Fiber is using a subcontractor to perform the work. The subcontractors should have proper identification with them at all times while performing the work and their vehicles should be marked with a legible magnetic decal or similar marking that identifies the vehicles as a contractor for Google Fiber and provides a contact phone number.
Informational door hangers should be distributed by the subcontractor in advance of construction in your neighborhood.
Paint markings will be sprayed on the ground several weeks before construction. The paint tells contractors where existing underground utility lines are so that the lines can be avoided when digging. The paint typically disappears in a few weeks.
The uniform color codes mandated by the American Public Works Association for temporarily marking facilities are:
- Red — Electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables
- Orange — Telecommunication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit
- Yellow — Natural gas, oil, steam, petroleum or other flammable
- Green — Sewers and drain lines
- Blue — Potable drinking water
- Purple — Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines
- Pink — Temporary survey markings, unknown/unidentified facilities
- White — Proposed excavation limits or routes
Construction and additions
Google Fiber plans to use trenching and horizontal boring to excavate in rights of way. The trenching involves digging a shallower and narrower trench than traditional excavation methods. It can help in avoiding tree roots and existing underground utilities. Horizontal boring machines will be used for tight rights of way, deeper installation needs or the crossing of driveways.
Periodic utility vaults will be installed in the right of way. Smaller plastic fiber vaults will be installed on property lines for individual service, similar in location to phone and cable provider boxes. The vaults are like water meter boxes in appearance and will be placed at the same grade as the right of way.
Construction area / rights of way
Work on public streets or in rights of way is governed by a utility cut permit or an encroachment agreement from the Town of Hillsborough or an encroachment agreement from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, depending on which entity maintains the road.
A public right of way is designated between most streets and the adjacent private property. This is where service providers are allowed by law to place their fiber along with water, sewer and electrical lines. Typically, the rights of way include the area from the street toward your home for about 8 feet. However, the right of way varies throughout Hillsborough and can be greater.
Contractors should receive permission from property owners before working on private property. This would include townhouse, condominium and apartment complexes.
Work typically occurs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. However, sometimes permission will be given to expand this schedule on a case-by-case basis. While construction noise can be as loud as necessary during these permitted times, you should not be bothered by noise in your home or business outside of these times.
Installation is expected to take up to one year, with work expected to start in April 2023. Weather, access, and equipment malfunctions can affect the timeline. Additionally, companies are not required by law to coordinate their activities, which means that even after one company is finished and the property is restored, other companies can come through the same area and start the process over.
In most cases and weather permitting, private property and public rights of way should be restored to original condition within three to five business days once construction in an area is complete.
Because companies are not required by law to coordinate their activities, other companies can come through the same area and start the process over once the Google Fiber project is complete.
Construction in your area does not mean that new or improved service will be available to you. It could be up to one year or not at all. The areas of service are determined by the utility provider.
Construction concerns or reporting damages
For questions or concerns about construction in your area, call the number on the subcontractor vehicle or door hanger or use the contact information below for assistance. Call 911 immediately if you believe there is a danger threatening life or health.
- Google Support/Construction Phone Line ― 877-454-6959
- Google Support/Construction Email ― firstname.lastname@example.org
- Google Support Website ― fiber.google.com/support
If you are not satisfied with the company’s response, please contact Hillsborough Civil Engineering Technician Tyler Freeman by email or 919-296-9639 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Filing formal complaints
Register complaints with the state by contacting:
Use these contacts if you have questions about new service or want to report problems with existing service:
- AT&T ― 866-861-6075
- Brightspeed ― 833-692-7773
- Google ― 866-777-7550
- Spectrum ― 855-366-7132