Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring

A decision could come as soon as tomorrow in the matter of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s New York grounding controversy. (See Verizon Opines on Grounding Gripes and VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures.)

Though regulators at the New York Public Service Commission have so far failed to explain how they let Verizon continually install improperly grounded FiOS fiber-to-the-home services for some two years after finding evidence that the telco's installation work wasn't always up to code, they'll get a chance to do more jawing tomorrow. The NYPSC is set to meet at 10:30 a.m., and Verizon's plan for correcting its improperly grounded homes is one of the items on the official agenda.

The recommendations for what the NYPSC ought to do have varied widely. Some cable companies want Verizon to let them know days before it installs FiOS in a cable home so they can send technicians (and, probably, sales people) to make sure the FiOS installers don't harm the cable plant. Some of the Commission's staff want to prevent Verizon from installing any new FiOS homes until all the previously installed homes in its network come under compliance.

Earlier, as part of its case against Verizon, the New York Public Service Commission entered a series of hideous photos into the public record showing just how off kilter a lot of Verizon's handiwork had been. Light Reading published the photos in this story: Verizon Foes Ground & Pound in New York.

Now the telco union, Communications Workers of America (CWA) , has offered another photo set, this time implicating New York cable companies for the exact same type of shoddy workmanship that Verizon is being chastised for. A few of those photos, as filed with the New York Public Service Commission on Oct. 10, are right here:

Uneasy in Eastchester

The CWA's stance is that safe and secure grounding shouldn't be limited to Verizon's network. "Indeed, we recommended that the PSC institute an audit of all cable installations and, if problems are identified, require the cable providers to develop remediation plans under a PSC proceeding," wrote CWA representative Kenneth R. Peres in the letter to the NYPSC.

Though this seems a matter where local politicians are getting spun in a circle by competing cable and telco interests, the decision could make it more difficult for Verizon to get other municipalities to approve video franchise requests related to its FiOS network expansion.

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Tom-Andrew 12/5/2012 | 3:29:31 PM
re: Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring What a surprise! Adding those pesky ground wires just makes the install look messy! :)
gbmorrison 12/5/2012 | 3:29:31 PM
re: Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring These guys better watch it or they will all -- cable and telco -- get slapped for the mass of junk they leave hanging off people's houses. These pictures are hysterical. I think 5 and 9 are my faves.
gbmorrison 12/5/2012 | 3:29:31 PM
re: Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring There's more amps to ground with the Fios box isn't there? The risk is more serious?
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:29:30 PM
re: Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring
There is no serious safety risk with any of this in a normal situation.

However, let us use a non-normal situation - a lightning strike. Without a local ground, the coax shield becomes a wonderful conductor for the lightning.

So, I don't think ONTs are going to jump off the wall and kill people. The questions lie around things like lightning, AC wire crosses, shorting out of other systems and the like.

thebulk 12/5/2012 | 3:29:30 PM
re: Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring i think #11 is a classic.....

but seven you are right for everyday normal use there is no real danger. it is when a circumstances outside of the norm occurs, one that happens a lot is a bad neutral inside of a home that will cause a house to use the plant as a ground if there is no common local ground.
gbmorrison 12/5/2012 | 3:29:27 PM
re: Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring On a side note, hats off to the CWA guys for doing the same work that cable & satellite install guys do but getting union wages and pension and benefits for it. Though that helps explain why VZ's price per FIOS install #s are so high.
MissMac 12/5/2012 | 3:29:26 PM
re: Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring Ok... in most installs, grounding protects the viability of the phone signal (see protect the Battery Back Up unit) in FIOS/Verizon; it also helps protectthe equipment inside the home, including the customer's. Yes, shielded coax is a very good conductor for high enough voltages to knock someone across a room in unusual conditions, e.g. lightning strikes. Florida is the "Lightning Captial of the World" for a reason; unpredictable, ground to cloud lightning in clear skies frequently occur. Grounding IS important. Poor grounding practices can lead to cable nicks, which result in loss/attenuation of signal. Poor wiring practices cost companies money and tick off customers who have to stay at home and wait for a tech to reinstall cabling! It makes tech support difficult, and all around, sloppy installations are just a bad business practice. I wouldn't want my home to look like this!
MissMac 12/5/2012 | 3:29:25 PM
re: Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring absolutely! Hey did you hear about the installers who were putting routers in the false ceilings and attics of people's homes? If your internet goes down, you must troubleshoot on a ladder or go into a crawl space...if you can find it! Now...standing on an aluminum ladder...playing with an ungrounded install, trying to power cycle the router and check the lights. What great customer service!
MissMac 12/5/2012 | 3:29:25 PM
re: Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring Actually, many of the Verizon installs are done by NON-union workers and subcontractors. The cost of a Verizon FIOS install far exceeds what is charged to a customer, from the placement of the pedestal in a community to actually running the fiber (and repairing it/maintaining it) to the ONT on the side of the house. Verizon is laying a FIBER OPTIC cable, not just running coax to a house! It is delicate, careful work, dude! It can't just be slapped in there. The investment is being made now to adopt a new technology and bring services directly to customers than were never possible before. Honestly, most customers are not really technologically saavy enough to have a FIOS network in their home and keep comparing it to broadband/coax "cable". My issue doing tech support for these customers is the install methods and crappy wire used in previous cable installs INSIDE the homes! These CWA pictures are not FIOS installs...these are broadband cable installs (these may have nothing to do with Verizon, but a previous cable provider)...I don't see any Optical Network Terminal boxes in these pictures. So know what you are talking about. I'd like to see inside the home pics...like drilling holes directly through walls, pushing coax through the hole, and leaving the customer with a compromised cable and wall damage to repair. Whatever happened to wall terminal (outlet) connections and keeping wiring in the wall? There are universal standards for installation and they need to be enforced to establish reliable networks from the provider to the customer's equipment, regardless of the provider they choose to do business with. That is part of what CWA is trying to address!
gbmorrison 12/5/2012 | 3:29:24 PM
re: Telco Union Exposes Cable's Wacky Wiring OK but hang on. My understanding from spending many hours with (a vendor involved) is the VZ FIOS **TV** is nothing more than regular cable, it splits out of the ONT on the side of the house and links into the house's coax wiring. And people gave VZ lots of credit for that because they chose not to reinvent the wheel and get stuck with a lot of proprietary expensive equipment and s/w when the tried and true commodity set up works fine. So when you have Verizon for TV, you CAN compare it to your cable, because it is the same. Except for the bugs in the software to deliver the program guide, and the errors therein.
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