Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

By Jim Pilgrim

I spent a couple of days in the Chicago area last week. Normally I go around it when I am travelling SE from Minnesota. I take I39 south through Rockford, IL, hit I80 and head straight east. That route is a little longer drive but I can avoid all but 2 toll booths. Last week was different; I had meetings in the NW suburbs of Chicago. If anyone out there can tell me how to avoid all of those tolls without driving on side streets and gravel roads, please let me know. I barely stuck my big toe into the western suburbs and I got to stop at 8 toll booths and $8.60 later escaped that insanity.

Surely I thought, with all of those toll roads, the gas tax must be lower. My bubble burst when I paid $3.04 per gallon, 30 cents more than I paid in Wisconsin. Huh?! I was starting to feel a bit abused.

I did a little research; Chicago has 10 levels of taxes on gas. Here are a few: 18.4 cent federal gas tax, 19 cent state gas tax, 6.25 % sales tax, .3% underground storage tax, 1.25% county tax. My blood pressure is rising so I’ll stop there. Chicago is at the very top of the list for highest taxes on gas, but still has all those toll roads?

One of my favorite bands of the 1970s is Steely Dan, they sang a song called “Pretzel Logic”, and I think the title fits, don’t you?

Jim is my first name, but in the Telecom world a JIM stands for Job Information Memorandum. When installation job changes, additional work due to moving equipment from original design, adding something missed on initial scope of work, the Installation Contractor issues a JIM. It’s just a nice name for “give me more money”. Kind of makes me want to go by my given name (James).

Back when I was a CO Supervisor, installation companies were notorious for bidding low to win the project, and then would JIM the job for every little change. “Oh, you want that fiber frame BOLTED to the floor?” Ha. I recently had a conversation with a Telco. We had bid a fiber job about a year ago. Our competition offered “free installation” of their equipment and that was enough to tip the scales in their favor and we lost the bid. Now the Telco was telling me that our competition was “Nickel and diming” them for everything on that installation, and they were “fed up with it”.

After last week in Chicago, I know how they feel.