Technically my jurisdiction follows the 2016 California Electric Code, but it's mostly just the 2016 NEC.

Table 300.5 lists bury depths for various areas and wiring methods. Do these apply to data cables (ex. cat. 6 or coax) or just mains wiring?

  • Even if not regulated you will still want to do some common sense bits like making sure you can trace the wire (by turning the wire into an antenna or burying a wire in parallel with that purpose) and adding a bright tape on a foot higher so that people digging there will pull that up first before damaging the wire. May 23 '18 at 11:59
  • @ratchetfreak Why would I want to turn it into an antenna? Also, this will be covered with a sand layer and caution tape. It's also along a fence line so it's not random placement either.
    – Hari Ganti
    May 23 '18 at 17:54
  • That's how electronic tracing of a wire works. Put a signal into it from one end and follow it with a receiver that beeps/glows as you get close to it. May 23 '18 at 19:18
  • @ratchetfreak I believe that both coax and Ethernet (Cat. X) cables are designed to minimize radiated energy... Coax is inherently shielded and Ethernet uses twisted pairs.
    – Hari Ganti
    May 23 '18 at 21:24
  • Put the signal in the shield or common mode it on the twisted pair, making it act like a single wire (sure it's not how the cable is normally used but data transfer is not the goal with tracing) May 24 '18 at 0:05

It does not (at least of 2014)

NEC 800.47 would be the governing section of Code for this situation, but it is mum on the topic of burial depths for underground communications cables. In addition, neither 800.3 nor 800.24 references 300.5, so it can't apply that way either.

  • I'm going to accept your answer because it also provides a relevant code reference, which is a bit more broadly applicable.
    – Hari Ganti
    May 23 '18 at 17:53

After remembering I had a contact in my local permitting office, I called and found that (in my jurisdiction, at least) data cables are not regulated.

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