Monday, June 15, 2009

Microtrenching gets increased attention as lower cost fiber deployment technique

As U.S. broadband infrastructure projects gear up for their share of the $7.2 billion set aside for them in the federal economic stimulus package, a relatively new and lower cost method of burying fiber optic cable in the middle and last miles called microtrenching is generating some buzz.

Here's a good article outlining the pros and cons of microtrenching. It's far less time consuming than conventional trenching since the trenches are more like discrete slots in the pavement near the curb instead of the wider and deeper trenches traditionally used for buried fiber runs.

Not only is the methodology of burying fiber improving, so is the fiber itself, according to the article. It mentions that LiteAccess Technologies is out with fiber that's placed in water and airtight microducts that are less likely to have to be dug up later due to water seepage or other contamination and require less signal attenuation-inducing splices.

Another article from New Zealand however raises questions regarding whether the technique is a suitable alternative to aerial fiber deployment in more rural areas where road surfaces are thinner, often chip sealed and resurfaced frequently.

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