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Posted on: November 21, 2022

FAQ for Residents Working with TDS Fiber Installation

Fiber Optic

The City of Twin Falls has received a number of complaints and concerns regarding TDS Fiber installing new fiber optic lines in public utility easements.

The utility easements were dedicated by developers and home owners when the subdivision was first constructed, and TDS is a certified telecommunication utility that is recognized by the State of Idaho to work within those easements without a City permit. However, residents to have rights and the City has provide the following FAQ to answer some of those questions:

TDS Contact for Citizen Complaints: Hotline #: 855-259-8576

    Does TDS have the right to be on my private property without my permission?

o    TDS is working within a Utility Easement to install fiber to nearly every home within the City Limits. Utility easements were dedicated by developers and home owners when the subdivision was first constructed. TDS is a Certified Telecommunications Utility per the State of Idaho, and has protections offered by the State of Idaho to utilize the Utility Easements on private property to deliver fiber to homes much in the same way Idaho Power delivers power to every home.

o    Some Utility Easements are located in the back yards of properties. TDS may be accessing those areas to construct their fiber network. They are allowed to do this without a City permit, or prior City approval because they are a Certified Telecommunications Utility per the State of Idaho, working in a Utility Easement.

    Did TDS get a permit to trench and bore in my neighborhood?

o    TDS received permission from the City of Twin Falls to conduct work within the City Right of Way (roads and in some case sidewalks and a portion of an individual’s front lawn/landscaping). These permits review the methods used to bore under roadways to ensure the construction does not damage the integrity of the roadway, and other public infrastructure. These permits do not review or approve work conducted on private property.

    Does TDS have to give notice before digging in my yard?

o    It is best practice for TDS to deliver notice at least 48 Hours prior to digging in Utility Easements located on private property. It is important to note that a portion of your front lawn/landscaping might be in the public right of way. Their program listed door hangars as the primary mode of communication, along with signage, and other media campaigns. However, it is not required by City Law to do so, as they are a Certified Utility of the State of Idaho and governed by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.

    Does TDS have to replace/repair damage done to my yard due to their work?

o    It is best practice for TDS to replace landscaping and other elements to as near a condition prior to digging in private property. However, it is not required by City Law to do so, as they are a Certified Utility of the State of Idaho and governed by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.

    Does TDS have the right to jump fences to get in yards if the gate is locked?

o    TDS has been encouraged by City Officials to work with impacted homeowners to minimize intrusions on private property and private lawns/landscaping. It is best practice for TDS to deliver notice at least 48 Hours prior to digging in private property. TDS is working within a Utility Easement to install fiber to nearly every home within the City Limits. Utility Easements were dedicated by developers and home owners when the subdivision was first constructed. These easements give certain rights to Utility Companies to access, install, repair, and maintain their utility lines in that dedicated area, even if that area is in the backyard of homes.

    Can I refuse to let TDS on my property?

o    The City of Twin Falls cannot give legal advice to Private property owners on this matter. We encourage home owners to contact TDS directly with concerns regarding access to the Utility Easements. The City of Twin Falls can supply Subdivision Plats to homeowners showing the dimensions of utility easements on their property.

    I called TDS and was told it is the city’s responsibility to notify residents.

o    The City apologies for the confusion TDS representatives may have created with these statements. This is not a City of Twin Falls Project, and we have minimal control over the location, duration, or the manner in which TDS installs this public utility due to its status as a Certified Public Utility recognized by the State of Idaho. The responsibility is TDS’s alone.

    I called TDS and was told they have free reign to dig wherever they want because they are a protected utility.

o    TDS is a Certified Telecommunications Utility per the State of Idaho, and has protections offered by the State of Idaho through the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to utilize Utility Easements on private property to deliver fiber to homes much in the same way Idaho Power delivers power to every home.

o    This does not mean free reign, but they do have latitude to install their network within utility easements, and the public right of way (roads, sidewalks, and possibly a portion of an individual’s front lawn/landscaping) where approved.

    TDS said this is a city project.

o    This is not a City of Twin Falls project. It is occurring throughout the City, so it is City-wide, but it is not sponsored, or paid for by the City of Twin Falls.


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