What should I consider when burying standard coaxial cable between the local pole and my house?


If you want to bury the cable directly in the ground then you need to use direct burial-grade cable and not "standard" cable, otherwise you need to use conduit.

First you need to consider the distance to the poll. Depending on the distance and use of the cable, you might be able to use RG6, but you also might need to use RG11.

You want to bury it deep enough that you won't cut it with a shovel should you do any yard work. They are usually a couple feet deep, but it depends on climate and location.

Make sure to call your utility company (usually your gas company) and have them come out and mark all burried cables/gas lines BEFORE you start digging - the last thing you want is to break a gas line or an electrical feed (ZAP!).

Leave yourself plenty of slack (service loops) at both ends of the cable. Overtime the ends will get cut and replaced over and over, and you need some extra cable allow for this.

You might want to check to see if your cable provider will even allow this, often they handle the last-mile connection to your demark. Because cable is "shared", a crummy installation on your end can cause issues for other customers.

  • Our local code wants the cable in 1"PVC. Frome pole to tv termination box. We can run the pipe all the cable company will run the cable for free. – lqlarry Feb 6 '12 at 2:00
  • @Steven it was "installed" recently by running it above ground from the poll to the crawlspace. – C. Ross Feb 6 '12 at 2:05
  • And now I'm told they'll be out to bury the cable ... – C. Ross Feb 6 '12 at 2:06
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    @C.Ross - Verizon ran fiber optic from the front of my house to the back (street to demarc) and had it up and working in less than 2 hours. If they are doing it for no extra charge then all you have to do is worry about your lawn or sprinklers getting in the way. – lqlarry Feb 6 '12 at 3:45
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    Always call 1-800-Dig-Safe before doing any digging or underground installs. It's the law, even if you are only going to dig down 6 inches. The service is free and usually done within 48 hours of your call. – shirlock homes Feb 6 '12 at 10:36

Depending on your climate one thing you'll have to consider is frost/ice heave. I live in Ohio so we have to dig down a number of inches (not sure what code for cable is but I know for deck posts it's 32 inches).

I'm not sure if ice/frost will damage a cable but most likely it would over time.

  • I wonder if frost heave could push the wire to the surface over time? Farmers find fresh rocks in their fields every spring. – Jay Bazuzi Feb 9 '12 at 6:01
  • @Jay I'm sure over time it would. I'd be more worried about the freezing, shifting and thawing doing damage to the cable. My driveway has been turned from concrete slabs into chunks due to ice/frost heave and that's above ground ... not sure if being buried adds more stress or not. – user45 Feb 9 '12 at 10:22

The cable from the pole to your home typically belongs to the cable company. Their demarcation point should be the outside of your home. They typically install a temporary line to get your service active and make sure your TV/internet works inside, and then have the land marked for utilities and get some cheap labor to bury the line with conduit. They don't want to wait for the underground lines to be marked to get you back up, and they don't want to pay the more expensive technician to dig a trench, so it's two separate jobs done at different times.

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