Work on Phase 1 of the PIE&G’s fiber project continues, as crews complete their work in the steps outlined for the project (see diagram below). The project starts with pole inspections and equipment inventory of PIE&G’s entire distribution system, starting in the Onaway area for Phase 1. 

As inspections and inventory are completed on the poles in an assigned area, the information is incorporated into PIE&G’s database. PIE&G uses this information to create precise digital maps and generate work orders that enable the process to move to the next step—“Make Ready Engineering” or MRE. 

Crews are given MRE tasks through PIE&G’s specific work order diagrams containing the details of the work to be performed. Then crews begin “Make Ready Construction” (MRC) work, which involves the rearrangement or movement of communications or power assets that are currently on PIE&G’s overhead electric grid to accommodate the addition of our fiber optic cable. This MRC work may include replacement of poles to ensure the ability of the overhead electric system to support the weight of the overhead fiber strands. MRC crews may also need to move existing communications equipment on the poles to clear the space for our fiber network.

After the MRC work has been completed in an area, the foundation is laid to enable the next step in the process to begin—the actual construction of the fiber network. PIE&G has engaged a contractor for this portion of the project, which began in November for Phase 1. 

As the project continues during Phase 1, these steps will repeat for each feeder coming out of a substation. To summarize, after the inventory and engineering work is completed in one area, Make Ready Construction crews will begin to perform their work. Once Make Ready Construction has finished on a feeder (i.e., moving equipment, replacing poles, etc.,) then fiber construction crews begin the actual construction of the fiber network.

Currently, crews have completed the Phase 1 inventory and have moved on to performing inspections and inventory in areas included in Phase 2.

Engineering and Make Ready Construction work continues on feeders in Phase 1, along with fiber construction. We expect MRE, MRC, and construction work on Phase 1 to continue throughout 2022. Pole inventory will be completed in 2022 for Phase 2, and we’ll likely begin that step for Phase 3 areas as well before year-end.

So far, the Make Ready Engineering has been completed on feeders ON1, ON4, CC3, CC4, BL1, BL2, BL3, BL4, TW2, TW6, FB1, and FB2, representing approximately 70% of the MRE now completed for Phase 1. In terms of construction progress for Phase 1, crews have built approximately 30 miles of actual fiber network so far in the Onaway area.

Stay tuned for more updates in this magazine, in PIE&G’s monthly newsletter “The Spotlight,” online at, and on our Facebook page.