• 52°

Squirrels, not storms, tough on Fibrant

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY ó Fibrant fared well during recent storms, Director Mike Crowell said.
The cityís new fiber-optic telecommunications utility has proven resilient in inclement weather, Crowell said.
ěPeople think fiber optic cable, which is make of glass, is really fragile,î he said. ěBut actually, itís as strong as copper wire and even stronger.î
The only Fibrant service interruption in the most recent storm, which spawned at least one tornado in Rowan County, came when a tree fell and brought down six poles, Crowell said. One Fibrant customer lost service for two days until Duke Energy replaced the poles and the city restored the broadband service, he said.
In strong winds a few weeks ago, one pole carrying Fibrant lines went down but no customers lost service, Crowell said.
Fifty-five percent of Fibrant lines are above ground and 45 percent are buried.
Squirrels more often than storms have interrupted Fibrant service. Four customers have lost service temporarily due to the animals chewing through the cable and into the fiber strands, Crowell said.
Squirrels also like to nest inside pole coverings intended to protect the fiber, he said.
City crews have started applying a non-toxic squirrel repellant to poles, which resembles cookie dough but smells horrible, Crowell said. So far, itís working, he said.
Fibrant, which launched in November, has 768 customers.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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