The Scoop on TDS® Fiber Construction

Excitement is in the air because soon there will be TDS Fiber in the ground! Learn all the ins and outs of the construction process that will bring cutting-edge fiber Internet, TV, and phone services to your neighborhood.

Fiber-Optic Network Construction 101

A lot of planning and preparation goes into building a brand-new, all-fiber Internet network. Before we break ground, we create a design for the network. That design includes where the infrastructure needs to be placed, and whether it will be constructed underground or by using utility poles. Once that plan is complete, we take it to the local municipality for approval.

Once approved, we ensure all necessary permits are obtained and work closely with our construction contractor partners to coordinate an efficient network build. We divide communities into smaller groupings to help launch service as soon as possible while ensuring high quality and safety standards are achieved.

Where Construction Takes Place and Access Rights

There are a couple of main designated areas where utility work, such as adding new fiber-optic network lines, often takes place. In both cases, TDS and our contractors have the right to work in these areas:

  • Public Rights of Way: These usually include the street, terrace, and sidewalk areas. Prior to construction, TDS will have obtained permitting from the local municipality to work in these areas.
  • Public Utility Easements: Managed by the county register of deeds, rather than by the local municipality. Like other utility companies, TDS has the right to work on utility easements, including those that may be in your front, side, or back yard. If the easement is within a fenced-in yard, crews will need your help accessing the area.

Learn More About Utility Easements

Read more about public rights of way and utility easements.

If you have questions regarding a utility easement on your property, please call 1-855-259-8576.


When Construction Begins

We'll do our best to notify you when construction is about to begin. Be on the lookout for a letter, postcard, and door hanger. These provide a simple outline of what will/must happen as construction nears. This includes:

  • A contractor making underground utilities with flags or spray paint.
  • The property owner is responsible for clearly marking any privately owned underground facilities (e.g., sprinkler systems, invisible fence, security systems, or private power) with flags or spray paint, and calling the construction hotline at 1-855-259-8576.

Safety Is Essential

TDS uses an independent contractor specializing in locating any existing underground utilities. This helps prevent damage to those facilities and adds a layer of safety for workers and residents. Once utility locations are identified, they will be marked with flags and/or spray paint. Please do not remove the flags or cut the grass where utilities are marked—they are essential to keeping you, your home or business, and workers safe! Crews will remove flags when it is safe to do so after construction is completed.

Flags will be used to indicate any of the following:

  • Red Flag Red = electric
  • Yellow Flag Yellow = gas, oil, or petroleum
  • Orange Flag Orange = telecommunications
  • Blue Flag Blue = potable water
  • Green Flag Green = sewer
  • White Flag White = our proposed excavation
  • Pink Flag Pink = property line/pin

What to Expect During Construction

The Construction Process

When construction begins, we'll use cable placement techniques, such as directional drilling, to limit disruptions in the road right of way or utility easements the best we can. However, there will be areas where digging is required, and additional excavation is necessary.

Digging is a normal part of the construction process. We understand this is the time when people sometimes get nervous. Try not to worry. Digging is limited as much as possible, and we will clean up and repair the mess (learn more about that in Cleanup, Restoration, and Installation).

Our contractors use what is called a "vac truck" for the digging process. The vehicle acts both as a pressure washer and vacuum cleaner. Workers use the pressure washer to dig, loosening soil only in the spots they need to access. The vacuum hose is then used to suck up the dirt. This is a highly precise process designed to minimize mess and disruption to the area.

Ditch Witch

Installing Conduit

Installing fiber-optic cable in the ground is a multistage, multiday process. But the technology used is very durable and should last a long time!

The bright orange tubing you may see, stored in large coils, is called conduit. On the inside, the conduit will, eventually, hold and protect our fiber-optic cable.

To install the conduit, we use a special drill that can reach up to 1,000 feet! It pushes through the dirt to the spot where we need to insert the fiber-optic cable. The metal piece shown in the second image is the tip of the drill.

The conduit is then attached to the open hole in the drill head. Once secured, the drill is reversed, and the conduit is installed by being pulled back through the ground.

Once the conduit is in place, we'll run and connect the fiber-optic cable through it and connect it to our infrastructure. This means not only "plugging in" the cable to the pedestal boxes or flush-mount mini vaults, but also making changes and upgrades to the larger hub boxes.

Fiber-optic cable is made from glass, which means, once it's in the ground, it cannot be found using standard metal-detecting equipment. The conduit we use has a thin, metal cable embedded, so it can be located once it's buried. This allows it to be located more easily in the future.


Drill Tip

Connecting Your Home or Business to TDS Fiber

TDS Service Drop Information

Once construction has been completed, you're just a few steps away from getting TDS Fiber Internet, TV, and phone services.

If you've registered for residential service or placed a preorder for business services, you'll receive an email when we're ready to connect your home or business to the network. A technician will place a "drop," which means they will splice in a cable either underground or by utilizing a utility pole. The method used to deliver other utilities to your building is typically indicative of the method TDS will use.

This drop work usually follows soon after mainline network construction, but sometimes must occur later on due to varying factors. We will restore any landscaping disruption from mainline construction work in the meantime. If you don't register for service, we will not place a drop to your home or business. If you choose to order TDS service later, the drop work will need to be done at that time.

No appointment is necessary for the drop work to take place, and you do not have to be present during this time. The work will take place outside and can begin before service is available.

If the ground is frozen or too wet, a temporary drop, that lays on the ground, may be used. If this is the case, we will return to replace the temporary drop with a permanent drop. However, there may be a situation, such as needing to cross a driveway or sidewalk, in which a temporary drop cannot be used. In that instance, service installation has to wait until weather conditions allow for completion of a buried drop.

Cleanup, Restoration, and Installation

The construction crew will not be the same crew doing the cleanup work. Within a couple weeks of the completion of construction, a separate cleanup and restoration crew will come to the site to repair any disrupted areas. This crew will:

  • Fill and level any holes
  • Apply topsoil and seed
  • Add netting and straw to keep the seeding in place

If you've already ordered, we'll contact you with your installation date once the entire network is constructed, a drop has been placed, and the network has been launched. It's important to confirm your installation date or your appointment may be canceled.

TDS Fiber Installation Process

The preceding information describes our typical construction scenarios. Please understand your experience may differ, due to local conditions or other intervening factors.

TDS Fiber services not available in all areas. Delinquent accounts may lose service. Services subject to TDS Terms of Service at and, TDS Privacy Policy at, and TDS Acceptable Use Policy at

One moment please...

We are not able to process your request at this time.

Please close this window and try again later.