The current phase is laying 66,000 feet of cable inside a 1-1/4-inch orange polycarbonate conduit from Normanna to a microwave tower 12 miles north on County Road 117.
Ryan Surratt, operations manager for Bortech Construction — the Houston company laying the cable — says the work should be completed by the end of March.
When laying the cable along the highway, workers use a machine that buries the conduit about four feet beneath the ground.
But when the route crosses driveways, they switch to directional drilling, in which a drill head and its associated piping, can drill a hole 500 feet at a time.
The conduit then is attached to the drill. When it is retracted, it pulls the conduit with it.
Once the conduit is in place, the 1/2-inch fiber optic cable, containing numerous fibers, either is pulled through the conduit or blown through it by air pressure.
Eventually, the fiber optic cable will extend to Beeville, but Surratt is not sure when AT&T plans to do it.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.