What Is a Public Right of Way?

May 10, 2023

When fiber internet—the fastest, most reliable internet you can get—comes to a new neighborhood, you can almost feel the excitement in the air. After all, fiber’s extraordinary speeds and bandwidth capacity provide an outstanding internet experience for all of your streaming entertainment, video calling, gaming, and other online activities.

But part of installing and maintaining our network includes the need to access property—your neighbor’s property and your own. In the law, there is a concept that allows internet service providers (as well as other utilities) access to private property, and even to make considerable impacts to it.

It’s called a “public right of way”—and at Alpine Communication, accessing it is essential to our efforts to providing our community with quality high-speed internet.

Below, we explain the concept in more detail, as well as how public rights of way work. We also hope to ease your mind a bit about some of the concerns many have about the installation and maintenance of fiber internet on your property via these public rights of way. Read on to learn more!


What Is a Public Right of Way?

A public right of way is simply a piece of land (usually including the surface area and subterranean level) that may be accessed and utilized by certain public entities for particular purposes. Similar to the concept of easements, public rights of way are critical to utilities like your local electric co-op, water and sewer systems, telephone companies, and of course, internet service providers. 

When you purchase your home, any public rights of way are defined and delineated, so (hopefully) there are no surprises. A public right of way grants a utility the right to traverse that property and even build and make improvements on it. This can include digging, installing infrastructure, and occasionally repairing or maintaining that infrastructure.

For internet service providers like Alpine Communication, a public right of way allows us to install the fiber network infrastructure in the neighborhood so that you and your neighbors have access to our services. It does not allow us to connect your particular home to our network, which we only do with your permission when you sign up for services.

After initial construction, from time to time, our technicians may need to access the right of way to upgrade the equipment or fiber-optic cable or repair it. It’s all key to making sure everyone’s internet remains as fast and reliable as possible.


Cooperation and Communication—How Alpine Communication Works With You and Public Rights of Way

First and foremost, please remember that our installation team will only come to your home if you request fiber internet installation and connection. So yes, the decision of whether to avail yourself of our high-speed internet still remains yours!

But whether or not you choose to purchase our services, we may still access the right of way in front of your home to lay fiber that connects your friends and neighbors. We’ll do our best to communicate what’s going on before, during, and after construction. You may find updates on our social pages, or we may drop off door hangers to keep you in the loop.


But What About the Lawn and Landscaping?

Perhaps the most common concern any homeowner has is also the most natural—what happens to the lawn and landscaping when the public right of way is being worked? The short answer is: Don’t worry! We’re local, and we care about protecting our community.

After construction is done, we will do our best to restore all rights of way back to its original state. Our team will even replace any landscaping, including shrubbery or even flowerbeds, too. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always reach out to our customer service team. We’re local and happy to help.

We hope this article has explained how public rights of way work—and how we work to make installation and maintenance of our high-speed internet network as smooth and efficient as possible.

If you see our teams on your street, it means high-speed fiber internet is on the way! To request service, simply go to https://alpinecom.net/residential/internet/ and search your address today.

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