Fibre and cable networks are growing rapidly. This is mainly due to the demand for faster broadband and improved rural access. Cable and fibre networks now create further challenges for anyone putting together underground utility plans prior to starting any excavation.

The challenge for many is two-fold…


1. Should I be including this as part of my standard utilities search?

Many companies question whether they need to go to the time and expense of searching a whole host of new companies when the majority of the time there is going to be nothing there.

This is a slight misconception now that cable and fibre networks have increased their footprint but is definitely a risk that some companies take.

Indeed, only 25% of our underground service searches include fibre/cable although it’s fair to say that this is growing month on month. So what’s the risk? The good news is that breaking through a telecommunications cable is unlikely to cause physical injury or death. It could, though, cost you a small fortune – the cable company will likely sue your company for damages and repairs if you have cut through their cable. We’ve heard of damages running into thousands of pounds and not being covered by insurance as reasonable steps were not taken to mitigate this risk – i.e. obtaining the plans. We therefore always urge people to understand the risks before making their search decisions.


2. Having made the proper and right decision to search for cable and fibre how do I ensure I am covering all of them?

Cable and fibre is a very competitive world with lots of new companies starting to build and expand their networks. On top of this, it is hard to keep up with lots of mergers and acquisitions. We feel for any company trying to establish a complete list from scratch when starting out and urge them to speak to industry experts. Cornerstone Projects searches over 30 cable companies. As well as understanding who has buried services, it’s as much about establishing how to search them, how long it will take and how much it will cost. It’s a minefield that many small companies will never have the time, focus or even patience to tackle -some things are better left to the experts. You’d also be pleasantly surprised at how little it cost to manage a search on your behalf. Check us out here before you start pulling your hair out.


In the United Kingdom we are home to many massive cable (and fibre) network operators, here are some of the top operators and some information about them…

network operators uk

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