Found a cable in my backyard of a new house after raking the leaves. It is above ground for about 3 feet over some tree roots. It appears to be coaxial, but there are no markings on the jacket. The cables for my tv/internet service do not look like this, they are flat coming into the house. Any idea what this might be from? It looks like it runs to my neighbors backyard that is behind my house.

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    Check your deed for rights of way. Call dig-safe and have known services marked. Then cut this cable if it's not covered by either of those (and if it's covered by the second but not the first, go beat money out of someone for trespass by means of unauthorized cable.) It's probably an old cable TV cable (notorious for improper burial.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 21:13
  • Use care if cutting an unknown cable since your neighbor might be using it to run 120VAC power to his shed.
    – Johnny
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 21:25
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    Agreed: call 811 and have the underground wires marked. See if they mark it.
    – user20127
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 22:07
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    Tested it for voltage, there is none. Assuming it is coaxial. This is not my cable service line. I have an old orange coax to the house that is not used, and a flat looking cable that currently goes to cable box on the house.
    – user29809
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 0:53

1 Answer 1


We won't be able to tell what it is from here. Call 811 (or your local/state one-call service if 811 isn't available to you) and see if they mark it. Better yet, see if you can meet/talk with the utility locating crew when they arrive; they may be able to provide you with more details than just a locate.

If it's abandoned according to them -- you should be able to just rip it out. If it's still active according to them, fetch your deed from the assessor's office and check it for rights of way. If it's active and not in a right of way, you have a case of trespass and perhaps other things as well. If there is a right of way, call whoever's on that right-of-way document and tell them to fix their cable so it's actually buried properly and not subject to mechanical damage.

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