How Many Times Can We Cut Our Neighbor’s Cable Off?

by Kevin on September 26, 2013

I would laugh if I weren’t so embarrassed.

All we’re trying to do is make our yard look nice. That’s all.

Yet since we’ve started yard work back in January 2012 we have somehow managed to cut our neighbor’s cable line four times.



It’s a comedy of errors and hits on why I absolutely cannot stand unions.

How to Test If Your Neighbors Are Really Nice People with 4 Easy Cut Lines

Here’s how we’ve managed to cut their line four times.

Last winter we had our backyard essentially bulldozed. We had a hill full of brush and trees that we cleaned out and had a wall with two levels of planters installed. We (mostly, as it turns out) had the yard leveled to deal with water drainage issues.

During that process the line was cut twice, but first you might ask how us having yard work in our backyard could possibly impact our neighbor’s cable line.

Ha. Ha.

As it turns out the original cable line ran under our driveway near the street (as it should be) and then up their side yard and then to the side of their house. At some point that line was damaged and someone from AT&T was sent out to do the repair.

Now you would think you would bring the equipment to run it back under the driveway where it belongs.

But you’re not a union worker.

Instead you decide to run a new line up through my side yard, around the back of my house, past my patio, to connect to the neighbor’s side yard and then their home.

That makes sense.

Oh, and you don’t bury the line nearly as deep as you should have. And you don’t update the 811 “call before you dig” information either.

So when a Bobcat is leveling my yard — after call before you dig has been called — the line isn’t marked nor is it deep enough and ta da! Cut line #1.

A tech comes out to do the repair and rebury the line.

But he does it by hand, and it isn’t deep enough.

Ta da! Cut line #2 when that same Bobcat comes back to complete some work.

Later, we have a fence installed. The same 811 number is called. The same line is not marked due to not updating the records. And what are the odds that right exactly where the fence workers are drilling into the ground for a post that they hit a cable line?

Cut line #3.

The work is completed, everything is fine. Calm remains.

All is well… until we decide to have our yard aerated and reseeded. You know, doing something to try to make it look better.

For those not in the know an aeration machine pulls a plug out of the earth of about 1″ or maybe 2″ deep. Your yard is literally full of shallow holes, then you reseed and some of the seed falls into the holes, and so forth.

I just about cried when our landscaping guy knocked on our door to let us know our neighbor wasn’t happy…

The line had been hit by the aeration machine.

(Hang head, sigh, wipe tear of frustration.)

I tweeted at @attcustomercare one more time to let them know, again, for the fourth time, that stupid line had been hit. When the very nice rep called me back I… politely… informed her how ridiculous this was, and oh by the way why is my neighbor’s line running behind my house?

A new line has been run and is laying in front of my driveway, going up my neighbor’s side yard, and connecting to his house.

We’ll see if they show up with the right equipment to bury it correctly any time soon.

Lessons Learned From Our Cable Cutting Disasters:

1. 811 / call before you dig records may not be accurate. This makes me feel warm and fuzzy since bad records might mean you hit a gas line, electrical main, or something more serious than a cable line.

2. If someone can do a task lazily, they will.


Golfing Girl September 26, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I love your political undertones that union workers are perfect and ALWAYS do a quality job. Tsk tsk. I’m really not sure what the financial angle here is on this one unless it’s the cost of not doing something right the first time.

Kevin September 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Since I stated I cannot stand unions — at least most of them — then I don’t think it is undertones at all. I’m all for unions keeping people from unsafe work conditions and being abused.

But when it takes one tech to come out and run a new line (above ground, laying on the pavement), but he can’t bury it because it isn’t his job… then the second guy comes out to do a quality check on that tech’s work, but he can’t bury it… and a third tech calls me because he can’t understand the ticket and no, he doesn’t have that equipment either… then a fourth tech comes out in a truck to see what is going on and he doesn’t have any burial equipment…

It’s a joke. Literally. A big joke. The line is still laying on the pavement, unburied, seven days later all because it “isn’t the first tech’s job”…

It’s a set of cascading failure. I’m highlighting a few things: cable companies are jokes, Twitter still works to get fast resolution (resolution in this case being a restored line, despite burial or not), and when you’re having work done in your yard you can’t 100% rely on the 811 service which could, in theory, end up costing you a lot of money. Imagine if it was a sewer line or gas line instead of a simple cable line.

Crystal September 29, 2013 at 1:00 am

Holy crap. This is just too stupid. I feel so bad for you and your neighbors and truly hope this is the last time you ever have to deal with this stupid line!

[email protected] October 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm

I can relate. We had our fencing replaced and our neighbors phone line was cut. The kicker here, even though we call “Miss Utility” (811) they say the margin of error is 3 ft! So even though they marked the line as 2 ft from the fence.. bam! Cut it.

Kevin October 28, 2013 at 5:45 am

Ugh! And you even had them mark the right line! Brutal. How can there be a 3 foot margin of error? That’s huge!

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