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Would you say:

The earliest stage of network design is the burial of optical fibers.

To say that the first stage, when you design an optical network, is to put the fibers under the ground ?

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    I’d say that step is far from the first step. But grammatically it’s fine. – Jim Jun 20 '17 at 20:17
  • That doesn't seem like a design step at all -- it's a step in the construction process. – Hot Licks Jun 20 '17 at 22:31
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  • I was confused by the usage of the word "burial" for something which has nothing to do with religion. I'm afraid you're right. I should have posted this question to ELL. Sorry. Should I delete the post ? – jcm69 Jun 23 '17 at 16:17
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Burial is:

the act or ceremony of burying Dictionary.com

And burying is:

to put in the ground and cover with earth Dictionary.com

Which is what they're doing, so it's fine. The confusion probably arose from the second definition,

to put (a corpse) in the ground or a vault, or into the sea, often with ceremony

But people should know what you mean when you bury cables.

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