What are Right-of-Way Permits?

Monday Minute

Across North America, cities have seen an extraordinary growth of fiber design deployments within the past decade. This has led to an increased emphasis on fiber optic networks which possess an advantage over traditional telecommunications due to their substantial capacity.

To keep up with demand and optimize high-level fiber network planning and design, utility providers every so often run into challenges within different requirements for permits and stumble upon roadblocks that stall the project operation. Enter Right-of-Way permits.


Right of Way Permits in Fiber Network Deployments 

Right-of-Way Permit means a permit granted by the awarding authority to an applicant for permission to construct, to repair and maintain, and to use overhead and underground facilities that it owns and which are located in the right-of-way. A vital part of a fiber optic project is the acquisition of real property interests to form a corridor that may contain wires, poles, cables, or pipes which deliver service to end users. These Right-of-Way permits are issued to parties that are deploying fiber optic cables over privately owned property or through parks, waterways, and/or any other areas which have been allocated as public spaces. 

To receive a permit, applicants must complete an application form with details of their fiber-network route. Applicants are required to submit aerial imagery and CAD drawings of the proposed network design to a city’s planning department. Rights-of-Way are closely interconnected with both civil work for the construction of infrastructures along with technical engineering for network planning and design, operations, and maintenance.  

Broadband providers seeking to lay fiber optic cables along a city’s public right of way occasionally request that the road they plan on laying cables be cleared of traffic. One example took place in San Bernardino, California in 2005 when CableOne (now Sparklight) requested that one of its major intersections be closed to traffic for six weeks. The city granted CableOne approval and temporarily closed the intersection while the team laid its fiber. 


Right of way permits

Designing a Digital Workflow 

With a solid user defined set of network design parameters, using Geographic Information System (GIS) data and software to prepare for permits can be helpful. At Comsof, we work to establish utility coordination so that digital records are easily accessible. As a result, data can be filtered through instantly to locate any discrepancies in utility placement. Permitting has benefited significantly from technological advancements in the design space – network planning & design software allows multiple users to edit and share the same data simultaneously.

Is your city ready for the fiber network expansion boom?

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about the benefits of software automation for the planning and design of FTTx networks.