Google fiber thrill turns to apprehension for neighbors

Contractors tore Google fiber lines while repaving roads in East Nashville. The fiber may not have been buried the required depth below the surface. (WSMV)

Nate Landsperger had a gut feeling something was wrong when the microtrenching began in front of his East Nashville home.

It was January, and the civil engineer watched as the Google fiber lines were buried too close to the surface for his liking.

“Eventually they'll have to repave the road, and if the trenches are this deep, that doesn't make sense,” Landsperger said.

So he emailed Google and sent the photographs, explaining that he feared when the city would ultimately repave the roads, that the fiber lines would be destroyed and people would lose their service.

Landsperger showed Google’s response to the News4 I-Team, in which a Google Fiber support team member emailed, “…when re-pavement happens it will not be hit and new pavement will be placed on top.”

Five months later, the News4 I-Team found that in six neighborhoods in Nashville, the lines were buried so close to the surface that they were torn apart during repaving and customers lost service for days.

When it happened, Landsperger thought of his neighbors who work from home.

“If it goes down, they could be in trouble,” Landsperger said.

Rick Kirkpatrick, Metro Public Works engineer, met with the News4 I-Team at the intersection of 15th Street and Calvin to look over fiber lines that were still exposed and buried only two inches deep.

“I'm looking at this, and it just seems to me not to buried deep enough?” asked the News4 I-Team.

“It's not. And this is the old line,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick said the line we saw was determined to be too shallow, so Google came in and relaid deeper fiber lines on the other side of the street.

“Are you concerned, though, that there are other streets where it's this shallow and it's going to tear it up every time?” asked the News4 I-Team.

“It's a possibility, until we run into what we run into here, we don't know,” Kirkpatrick said.

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