Micro-Trenching the Faster Way to Install Fiber

By

Tim Locker, CPMR

Vice President, Broadband

October 2, 2023

Micro-Trenching the Faster Way to Install Fiber

Fiber optic construction remains to be the largest cost in broadband deployment today.  Micro-trenching is a great alternative, especially in metro applications where streets are busy and utilities can be very crowded.  Micro-trenching uses a saw cut, anywhere from 1-3 inches wide, and up to 24 inches deep, to install fiber optic cable.  This can be placed in the street, typically next to the curb and gutter, or even along shoulders or city sidewalks.    

The main advantage of micro-trenching is the speed.  Google operations says they can pass 50 homes with micro-trenching in the time it takes to directionally drill to one.  Once completed, fiber installation uses the jetting process to install fiber cables at rates up to 300 feet per minute or more.    

The second advantage to micro-trenching is that its less disruptive.  The three primary components to the practice can be done simultaneously. Trenching, conduit installation, and backfill operations can be coordinated together within a single pass. The spoils of the trench are taken up by a large vacuum leaving very little mess.  After the conduit is installed, the filler is then applied, leaving a clean, finished roadway behind the crew, and very little interference with traffic.      

Micro-trenching is not only a southern climate operation.  Because of the shallower installation depths, some have concern about frost heaving.  However, the latest polymers and products used in the backfill process reduce these issues, making it a good option all across the country.  In fact, this is the standard practice used in New York City for fiber installation.

Micro-Trenching the Faster Way to Install Fiber

Meet The Author

Tim Locker, CPMR

Vice President, Broadband

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