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I have some tree limbs I need to cut but there is a wire under it going to a house I own and will eventually demolish. I think the wire is for internet. I called the local company to get it removed, but I'm not a customer and will not become one, so there isn't a lot of motivation for the company to schedule this; I have been waiting for that for over a month.

Is it a big deal if I just cut this myself? It's definitely not an electrical wire. I already had the electrical source removed. It seems like it's old internet wire. Is there a way to confirm that it is, and can I just cut it myself if so?

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I actually see the wire going to a Time Warner box covered by these vines, so its definitely internet:

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For those said they have been charged for reconnecting a wire they didn't disconnect, what was the cost? I don't know whether it will matter in the future because this house will be demolished, but it may also be a cost I'm willing to pay if it comes out.

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  • There are basically 3 low voltage cables commonly in use POTS which us cat-3 (plain old telephone service), but it's usually only inside a structure. Telcos out side wire is generally pretty heavy due to the fact it's outside (overhead or buried). Next: It might be for cable TV and would likely be coax. Next, Next(!) It's unlikely its a dedicated internet connection. In most places TV and internet are routed over the same cable (most likely coax) . The cable should be marked as to what it is. Apr 22, 2023 at 16:37
  • @Ecnerwal yes, pics of what it's attached to would really help, and pics of the cable itself. Apr 22, 2023 at 16:43
  • 1
    Could also be optical fiber, though less likely. You need to check local laws. If you have no contact with them, then theoretically you can do anything you like with equipment they left on your property -- but there may be safety regulations concerning properly securing the loose section of wire, and those may require access to the poles which are their property. I'd suggest asking the town, possibly the inspector's office or public works since I'm sure both get complaints about dangling wires and know who to contact.
    – keshlam
    Apr 22, 2023 at 17:32
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    tbh, I'd be asking a lawyer about this, not a DIY stack.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 22, 2023 at 17:43
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    @Tetsujin, I understand your concern based on your history, but I'm going to test my luck and ask for forgiveness later if it's a problem. They have my request logged on their system and I have the ticket number. This is so low priority for them because there is no future business in it.
    – MsAgentM
    Apr 22, 2023 at 19:23

7 Answers 7

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The "Time Warner Cable" interface box positively identifies this as a cable-TV coaxial cable.

Try calling your area's current Cable TV provider (which may, or may not, be Time-Warner, as sometimes contracts and providers change, but the equipment gets left behind.)

If they won't remove it after having been requested multiple times to do so, cut the branches and let it become broken, then remove the broken end from your house... ;-) It broke from branches falling on it - I didn't cut it. I warned them that branches would fall on it...

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    I have, multiple times. I'm not a customer and will not be. Everytime I call, I am told I have to wait for a "special department" to call back and set up a time. I have either always missed this call (they have never left a voice mail if so) or they don't call. Been waiting/trying to get this done for over a month. Does it matter if I just cut it myself?
    – MsAgentM
    Apr 22, 2023 at 17:10
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    @MsAgentM I would not just cut myself. That cable might be attached to a power pole, and the stay wire is probably under tension. Cutting the stay wire might cause it to touch power lines if it snaps back.
    – crip659
    Apr 22, 2023 at 17:31
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    It's only a problem [legally] if the cable's owner [which isn't you] ever wants it back. I hit a similar issue after I'd re-purposed some old cable TV cables from a 20-year old install [done by/for a previous house owner] to route RF round my house. Fine until the current owner [how was I to know?] of the cables [an entirely different cable company] installed new internet to one of my neighbours & wanted it back. It took some protracted legal argument before they agreed to leave it alone & not charge me for the re-install.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 22, 2023 at 17:32
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    It looks pretty loose if it has tension. It hangs pretty low. No one will ever get cable to this house again. I'm the home owner and we are demoing the house next year. I like that idea Encerwal
    – MsAgentM
    Apr 22, 2023 at 19:09
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    Just an FYI Squirrels are above the legal system, must have been one of them that chewed through the cable....... Apr 23, 2023 at 17:13
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I would remove it from the house. Open the box and disconnect any wires going into you house, then remove the box from your wall. Unhook the wires from the house and coil up the wires and box and place at the base of the pole.

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    @Tetsujin The OP stated they will not be a customer. This is better than cutting the wire.
    – JACK
    Apr 22, 2023 at 17:52
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    Well, I wasn't a customer either & I had to get the lawyers out when the cable's owner decided they wanted it as part of a neighbour's installation.. See comment below Enercwal's answer.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 22, 2023 at 18:00
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    @Tetsujin This is an individual service drop. Removing it and placing at the base of the pole isn't repurposing it, It's just removing it from your property
    – JACK
    Apr 22, 2023 at 18:10
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    It's removing it & the company will frankly not care at all unless they ever want it again. In my case, they wanted it to 'jump' on to another property. It wasn't where they expected it to be, therefore it was automatically 'my fault', because it was supposed to be on my property & they wanted me to pay for re-doing the first 'jump' that should have been there. It took lawyers to resolve.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 22, 2023 at 18:37
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    "Our client has asked you several times to remove your cable and interface box from his property. If this is not done by (date), he is well within his rights to remove it himself. (signed) Joe Shyster of Dewey, Cheatham, & Howe"
    – WGroleau
    Apr 23, 2023 at 4:30
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The previous owner of my house was a Comcast customer and I did not reactivate service when I moved in. Several years later a storm damaged the Comcast drop to the house, leaving the cable lying in the yard. I called Comcast & had difficulty getting to talk to anyone because I couldn't provide an account number. I eventually called their sales line, explained my situation, and was transferred to the repair folks. They said they didn't care what I did with the damaged cable so I used a tree-trimming pole to cut it near the box on the pole.

A decade or so later I did establish service with Comcast; there was a $100 "connection fee" for setting up new service but that was mentioned before anybody came to the house so my previous cable-cutting had no bearing. A tech came out, ran a new drop from the pole, and all was well.

I would suggest you cut it neatly far enough back that it's not going to be a bother to you, but definitely inside the point where it's serving only your address. Then forget about it.

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  • $100 in which currency? American, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, or some other? Apr 25, 2023 at 7:51
  • @TobySpeight AFAICT Comcast Cable (now Xfinity) only provided(provides) service in the United States, so USD. Apr 25, 2023 at 10:31
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    Comcast(/Xfinity) is a US company, so USD. But the point I was making was not the amount of the fee, it's that the amount of the fee was already set before they knew about the cut cable and didn't change; hence the cutting was irrelevant. Apr 25, 2023 at 15:36
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It's not your property. If you damage it you are liable.

However, why do you talk about "cutting" it? It is very simple to disconnect it. And that way, you will not damage it. You can then roll it up and secure it to the base of the pole (so that it does not get damaged).

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Commonly, the wiring on the other side of the network interface (the grey box on your house) is the property and responsibility of the utility.

You might be able to persuade TWC (or Spectrum/Cox/Whoever owns it now) to temporarily relocate it, but I would advise just working around it.

Having had to pay to reconnect a cable TV drop that was cut (and balled up and thrown into a tree!) by a previous owner, I advise leaving it alone.

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    I can't work around it unfortunately. This wire is running right in between two trees that need to be cut down. I'm also not concerned about a reconnect since the house it's connected to will be demoed.
    – MsAgentM
    Apr 22, 2023 at 19:15
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    @MsAgentM I'd just leave the wire there, and cut the trees down. If it's no longer there afterwards, then you've solved two problems at once.
    – Mark
    Apr 22, 2023 at 19:44
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    @Mark tempting - the risk is that the wire interferes with the tree felling, and throws the fall off-course. Imagine if the catenary wire doesn't break and pulls the whole street-cable off at the pole.
    – Criggie
    Apr 23, 2023 at 19:35
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    @Criggie the catenary would break if you asked it nicely in advance (using a file). But cable whip horribly when parted under tension so simply cutting it isn't necessarily a good plan (the service cable itself should constrain the whipping) For that matter I wonder about how strong the anchor is these days.
    – Chris H
    Apr 24, 2023 at 15:13
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    @Criggie If it's tied off at a pole, you'd probably be OK, but if it's a mid-span, you'd be asking for it. We hang ladders off those - they're tighter and stronger than you think. Guaranteed one anchor will fail somewhere, but it might not be where you want.
    – Chris O
    Apr 24, 2023 at 15:19
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If you are going to demo the home and there is no need for cable service before that point in time, go ahead and cut the cable and dispose of it.

Time Warner has not been in existence for about a decade. The box and associated equipment inside are most likely antiquated and would not be used by the utility. ( This is why they have no interest in your problem)

If a new house is built, the company will be happy to install new equipment for a new customer.

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    When cable companies change hands, the in-place infrastructure almost always goes with. While copper telephone lines are being abandoned by Telcos who don't want to maintain them anymore, CATV infrastructure is still in demand and is sometimes the only game in town for broadband service. I've hooked up hundreds of NIUs that bear the branding of telecom and cable companies that no longer exist.
    – Chris O
    Apr 22, 2023 at 17:59
  • @ Chris O, your info may be spot on but still moot. The OP stated the house is going to be demolished.
    – RMDman
    Apr 22, 2023 at 18:01
  • True - I'd glossed over that part
    – Chris O
    Apr 22, 2023 at 18:10
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I have such a cable attached to my house (with another unused one for phone, and an actually desired one for electricity). It broke free in a windy storm and was lying on the lawn. I carefully coiled it (a hundred feet of it or more, and flipped constantly to keep it from twist-induced kinking... did a nice job) around the base of the pole it came from. Done, nice, no longer an ugly thing hanging across the back yard, and hanging low enough that it pressed awareness of it being there upon one. Yay!

About a year later, the power company came through on their annual cut-away-tree limbs-from-being-dangerous-to-their-power-lines maintenance. After ten-ish years of never having heard from Time-Warner, nor ever having subscribed to anything from them, a couple days after the electric company came through, Time-Warner showed up and re-hung and re-attached the cable.

Thanks... actually never expected such service from them as their reputation and an out-house's are roughly the same. Kudos, sort of, and apologies to the local people. Not sure if the power company informs them of such things when noticed, or if they come along behind the tree cutting as being a good opportunity to do this (probably about 99.9999% of the time appreciated) work, but there it is.

So you could even go to the extreme of yanking it free from the house so that it looks storm-damaged, not viciously chopped down, or even nicely uninstalled, and coil it up by the pole and... probably you'll come home some day to find it nicely reinstalled, all part of a day's work for someone at Time-Warner.

So from my (limited) experience, they value the connections to homes. They did not even contact me first, just fixed it. It would be easy to see them being pretty unhappy for you to just whack it down, and even aggravate your life with a bill for it, the value of things they will now throw away, with said bill being sold to scum as a bad debt and them REALLY aggravating your life. In your area, it might even constitute a crime, that of vandalism, or some similar such. Which, even if not fully pursued could be a large stick used to get the bogus bill paid. I'd tread carefully, considering those things.

But don't just whack it, I think. Lots of (maybe serious) downsides and you might even come home to find it back in place so it just doesn't seem a good idea.

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    Since he intends to demo the house, it won't be possible to reconnect. And if they did, since he has already asked them to remove it, he could file in small claims court for costs to remove it a second time.
    – WGroleau
    Apr 23, 2023 at 4:34
  • Is this really about Home Improvement ? Apr 23, 2023 at 8:05

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