Cable technicians are responsible for ensuring that cable systems operate properly by performing a wide variety of tasks, including repair, maintenance and installation of cable services. Depending on the company's capabilities, a cable technician's duties can include installation and maintenance of cable television, high-speed Internet and telephone service. Technicians also might be responsible for connecting drop lines and feeder lines to homes and businesses.
When a customer contacts a cable provider seeking service, the provider dispatches a cable technician to the customer's home or business to connect the service. If a feeder line is in place near the address, the provider generally is capable of providing service to the customer. A technician installs a drop line, which connects cable service from the main feeder line to the customer's home or business. After performing a variety of electronic tests to measure signal strength, the technician will then install any required equipment on the outside or inside of the structure, which can include a cable box, digital video recorder (DVR), cable jack and a cable modem.
Cable technicians also are responsible for all repairs, including inside a customer's residence or business and throughout the cable feeder lines. If a main cable line is damaged and service is disrupted, cable technicians are responsible for repairing the lines and restoring service. Most cable lines are located above ground, and to access these lines, a cable technician must use a bucket truck or must climb a pole or tower. For lines that are underground, the technician must crawl into a tunnel or trench to repair the line and restore service. In addition, cable technicians perform a series of preventative tasks by periodically scanning the cable systems to assess and repair small problems in an effort to avoid an outage.
Some cable technician jobs include expanding service to new locations. Generally, these technicians dig holes, install poles and connect lines from the main tower to a customer's home or business. If the cable connections are required underground, the cable technician will dig trenches and pull the lines through them to connect to the main tower.
Most cable service providers require cable technicians to possess at least a high school diploma, but some require vocational training or related work experience. Generally, cable technicians must complete a series of cable technology courses, either at a post-secondary training institution or on-the-job training. If the cable service provider provides on the job training, new technicians will gain experience by shadowing experienced technicians and receive hands on training.