VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is still having trouble making sure all of its FiOS installations in New York are properly grounded, as spelled out in the National Electrical Code, Light Reading has learned.

Improperly grounded optical network terminals (ONTs) aren't exactly the lead-based paint of broadband networks. And they're certainly not as harmful or menacing as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s battery blow-ups from the past few years. (See AT&T Begins Massive Battery Replacement.) But New York officials have said, in public documents, that they believe "FiOS may form an electrically conductive path both to the outside world as well as other electrically powered devices inside the building."

So, with a lot of urging from its cable competitors, New York state officials have been all over Verizon to do something about its FiOS-connected homes that have failed inspection. The solution, a Network Review Plan that Verizon proposed in July, is taking place now. Verizon has said it will inspect its new and old installations and report those findings to the state, as a first step toward cleaning up whatever harmful specter -- actual or perceived -- lurks outside consumer homes.

According to data filed with the New York Public Service Commission this afternoon, Verizon, in the month of August, inspected more than 15 percent of its installed base of FiOS-connected homes in New York.

The result: a 59 percent failure rate.

Some context: Apparently more than one third of the homes inspected were listed as having "no access," which could mean those homes may have failed by default, since the inspector couldn't reach or access the ONT. Calls to Verizon went unreturned on Friday afternoon.

In its new installations, Verizon fared better, but was far from perfect as the data in the table provided shows:

Table 1: Verizon's New Installation, Grounding Compliance Audit, August 2008
Location Percentage of New FiOS-installed Homes in Compliance with the National Electrical Code
Staten Island 78
Brooklyn 63
Queens 59
Bronx 79
Manhattan 98
North Suffolk 90
South Suffolk 95
North Nassau 89
South Nassau 93
Western 99
Central 85
Capitol North 82
Capitol South 84
S. Westchester 68
N. Westchester 94
Rockland 89
All of New York State 83
Source: Verizon

For a more complete overview on the FiOS grounding fiasco, with pictures, see Verizon Foes Ground & Pound in New York. The New York Public Service Commission is set to consider "whether to approve, modify, or reject, in whole or in part" Verizon's Network Review Plan on Monday.

Until then, don't put your tongue on anything hanging from a FiOS ONT.

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading
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DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:31:38 PM
re: VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures I would just recommend that you not move to Queens. Everywhere else in the entire nation is probably fine.

Mac 12/5/2012 | 3:31:38 PM
re: VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures In my experience, this will be a nationwide problem: I have seen this across the US, as well as Europe. If NY is investigating, the other states will as well.
Mac 12/5/2012 | 3:31:38 PM
re: VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures I have kept up to speed on this since I first noted the issue on Light Reading. I have read all of the documentation, and I virtually attended the technical meeting on Sept 9th.

As an expert in residential grounding in the CATV industry for over 20 years, I called all of the "higher ups" in Verizon that I could find, to find a way for me to help them manage their crisis in NY. I fully expect this to be a national problem.

Everyone whom I contacted assured me that they had the expertise to handle this in-house.

From the results published today on inspection of NEW installations as well as embedded installations, it is clear that Verizon needs my expertise.

Suggestions from the Light Reading community?

[email protected]
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:31:35 PM
re: VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures
So, zukoff...how are you going to help Verizon ensure that their technicians follow their rules to ensure compliance? Unless you are going to follow each install personally, they already have written rules on how to install ONTs properly?

Kreskin 12/5/2012 | 3:31:33 PM
re: VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures
The ONT needs to have grounding - not the fiber.

I imagine there is shoddy workmanship involved or other utilities in the home want VZ to have their own ground which is a dumb idea.

An existing ground is a ground.
Mac 12/5/2012 | 3:31:32 PM
re: VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures In a nutshell-100% inspection...Been there, done that.

This is an issue that can be handled with competent management.
Mac 12/5/2012 | 3:31:32 PM
re: VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures There is shoddy workmanship, and by code, each provider is required to have their own bond to a common ground source.
nodak 12/5/2012 | 3:31:31 PM
re: VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures Kreskin

While fiber does not need to be grounded, if it has any metallic components in it, such as armor or a strength member, those do need to be grounded.
up2oneghz 12/5/2012 | 3:31:14 PM
re: VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures cough, cough, bull-shit rrrmmmm

I have been building FTTH in our community, it has a high water table, for years we got our ass kicked by lightning. During our builds I came to the realization that the locations not splice (which means not grounded) don't suffer damage after a large storm. The grounded/bonded fiber (every splice point) get the shit kicked out of them. Hence no potentiality = no power flow! We only ground drops due to code, and sadly enough only at the home not the ped. Talk about a bullshit deal!!!! I don't even bond jackets together. Just a floating ground. Ever since we have had 3 100 floods and the storms to go with them here in Wisconsin but 0 damaged fiber since.
Duh! 12/5/2012 | 3:31:10 PM
re: VZ Verifies FiOS Grounding Failures Um... up2oneghz...
It looks like you might have had something profound to say about bonding in FTTH systems... just that I can't understand most of what you've written.

Would you please re-write your comments but slow down, suppress your anger, articulate your thoughts and kindly remember that your audience is technical but does not necessarily have specialist knowledge of FTTH installation practices and bonding?

Thank you.
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