How-To Geek

Horse Drawn Fiber Optics Bring Broadband to Remote Areas

When you think of fiber optics and high speed internet the last thing you likely think of is… horses. Yet horses have been put to use rolling out fiber optics to remote rural locations.

In Vermont a Belgium draft horse named Fred, seen in the photo above being tended by his handler Claude, is a distinctly 19th century solution to a 21st century problem; how to run fiber optic cable through remote areas where trucks cannot easily pass.

The man and animal are indispensable to cable and phone-service provider FairPoint Communications because they easily can access hard-to-reach job sites along country roads, which bulky utility trucks often cannot.

“It just saves so much work – it would take probably 15 guys to do what Fred and Claude can do,” said Paul Clancy, foreman of a line crew from FairPoint. “They can pull 5,000 feet of cable with no sweat.”

You can read more about the use of draft horses to draw lines and the roll out of broadband to rural Vermont at the link below.

Vermont Uses Draft Horse to Lay Cables for Internet Access [Reuters]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/1/11

Comments (7)

  1. tecn0tarded

    now people in the boonies can get aol

  2. Brodiemac

    Having worked first hand with Fairpoint Communications, I can fairly say this is the only thing they have ever done right. This is the worst Telecommunications company EVER! At least this is an environmentally sound solution to the problem of running cable through deep wooded areas. Most other companies would have cut everything down in their path.

  3. acMcLean

    Ummm, that’s not fiber. It’s copper cable is implied by the quote.

  4. Cliff

    The people are all wearing hard hats – the horse doesn’t deserve some type of protection?
    I don’t understand why they have to wear hard hats to begin with. What’s gonna fall on their heads, a stray photon?

  5. Joe

    AgrEE w/ acMcLean it is copper not FTTP!! BTW pony up boys wE hicks nEEd some wild horse actions on yo yo tube {; – )>

  6. ladygeek

    Having had horses in my pass and also having a career in high tech – mostly Network Administration and Systems Engineering, I find this is something not to be derided. Horses are amazing creatures and when trained properly can do a job well.

    The picture of the horse in question, is in good health which you can tell by the good grooming and shiny coat. These large draft horses are good for labor because their demeanor is very peaceful and intelligent and respond well to their handlers who developed a good relationship through training with their team mate.

    FYI, DSL runs on copper cable which is high-speed access. Rural areas are increasingly being wired, mostly with DSL because copper is already being installed. If copper cable is not available, that means that there is no phone service either so copper has to be laid just for basic communications.

  7. themehmeh

    having also worked for fairpoint, I’d like to think that yes, their situation sucks, and yes they’ve made some bad decisions, but I think they’re cleaning up after their mistakes quite well. This is a really ingenuitive solution and good for them for not giving up on those people like Verizon did.

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