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Futureway Goes Underground

Reduction in residential housing lot sizes, combined with the dramatic increase in home offices and the easing of restrictions on basement apartments in many areas, has created problems for utilities ...


May 1, 2000  


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Reduction in residential housing lot sizes, combined with the dramatic increase in home offices and the easing of restrictions on basement apartments in many areas, has created problems for utilities with buried copper cables. The amount and location of “street furniture” cable pedestals, and the need to dig up lawns to re-cable, has led to substantial costs for both residents and construction companies.

These issues were priorities in Futureway’s decision to bury both cable and pedestals in new-build residential suburbs. The company’s affiliation with Ontario utility contractor Con-Drain was a decided advantage.

“They’ve been putting a lot of underground infrastructure in for many years. In their minds, everything is solvable. Everything comes down to cost,” says Steven McCartney, president of Futureway Communications. “They’re better than engineers, they’ve got 40 years of practical experience which sometimes takes you to the head of the class.”

Futureway, together with its utility partners, has experimented with burying pedestals, cable and enclosures for splice points. Some are flush to grade and some are below grade, with enclosures painted green to blend in with the landscape.

Water and ice are the standard concerns, with a major focus on the distortion potential of ice damage to equipment. Enclosures are manufactured of concrete, synthetics, or a combination of both. The enclosures have drainage and the units with the enclosures are waterproofed.

“We decided you have to spend the money to make the box flexible, with proper drainage,” says McCartney. “That became the push — to make sure that stuff doesn’t have to be seen. Everything we do is pushed towards this aesthetic — used but not seen.”

At the end of the first full winter season of Futureway service, things are going well. Says McCartney: “Even our guys recognize one winter doesn’t tell the tale, but so far, so good.”


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