Some Nashville neighborhoods are experiencing internet service disruptions and complaining about the "microtrenching" method that Google Fiber uses to install its high-speed internet cables.
A section of East Nashville is the latest to learn the perils of burying lines in shallow trenches. A routine road-repaving project went deep enough to disrupt the cables, which have been frayed, cut, pulled out of the ground and left strewn about as the roadwork continues.
Metro Public Works says its crews have had to tear up fiber lines five times this year, and that Google Fiber's team is then asked to respond quickly to cut deeper trenches and replace the fiber, so as to allow the paving jobs to be completed.
In the most recent incident, residents have blasted the disruption on social media, drawing more than 100 responses on one thread — including from some who say they previously voiced concerns about this exact scenario.
A spokeswoman for Public Works said such damage should be infrequent, because Metro adopted rules that require a deeper trench — of at least 4 inches — around the beginning of 2018. Only the earliest installations predate those rules, leaving a small subset of lines vulnerable to road repavings.
A statement from Google Fiber described the latest situation as a disruption for a "small group" of customers and said it coordinates with Metro to minimize damages. (Customers who need service updates can call 844-363-4237.)
Google Fiber opted for microtrenching after losing a legal battle. The company had sought fast access to attach aerial wires to utility poles.
The disruptions haven't caused internet providers to give up on microtrenching. In the past month, a microtrenching contractor has pulled 88 permits to continue similar digging.