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Key Factors When Choosing Between Buried & Aerial Fiber Deployments

Considerations for Installing Buried and Aerial Fiber Deployments

Telecom companies are expanding their broadband coverage in cities and rural areas nationwide. The backbone of the network, including 5G wireless, is fiber optics. The goal is a nationwide fiber to the premises (FTTP) network via new fiber plant installations. Innovative telecom engineers work to find solutions for sustainable funding, complex project design, and implementing the architecture to “last mile” telecommunication drop lines. There are important factors when planning whether to build buried versus aerial fiber.

Key Factors for Buried Fiber Deployment

Building high-speed internet underground has many pros and cons. Subterranean cable is more resilient and has a longer lifespan. It is protected from weather conditions and the cold since it is buried below the point in which the soil freezes. The visual impact is lower, too, since the cables will be out of sight. Buried cable also avoids obstacles like roads, buildings, topography, and wildfires.

However, burying fiber optic cable is more expensive due to the skilled labor and specialized digging machinery required. Trenchless boring technologies, larger crews, and protective ductwork increase the time and investment. Planning, permitting, and design must also consider existing buried ducts for pre-existing utilities like sewer and electrical. In addition, the terrain brings construction challenges, including soil and mineral composition, proper water management, and digging through concrete in urban locations. Excavating in a city will always be more expensive than an open area.

Key Factors for Aerial Fiber Deployment

There are benefits and complications with fiber optics installed on poles. Because it uses the existing telephone pole infrastructure, it is usually a low-cost solution. New lines can be dropped in as needed. The speed of planning and construction is also much faster. Generally, this is the preferred approach when developing the internet in rural areas.

Occasionally, additional poles may be required to support new lines to account for load or distance between any existing support structure and signal boosting fiber nodes. Installing towers and poles works best on flat terrain that is clear of buildings. Aerial cable is also easily damaged in areas with significant wind, snow, and ice conditions. Added reinforcement is often necessary to protect communications from wildlife like birds and squirrels. Weatherproofing and repair costs can add up quickly.  Some sites may have issues with too many existing cables which results in high interference or an unsightly appearance.

Features of Fiber Optic Construction and Engineering

The expansion of broadband across the United States is advantageous for connections in social networks, education, medicine, smart grid utilities, the internet of things, and, of course, staying competitive in business. That being said, there are many logistical hurdles for connecting the world via fiber internet:

  • Fiber-optic plant testing and splicing
  • Small cell site implementation
  • Remote and rural high-speed deployment
  • Project design and permitting
  • Emergency maintenance of telecom fiber

It is crucial to have an outside-plant engineering team with experience building and installing thousands of miles of fiber plants both overhead and underground. V1 Fiber is a specialized fiber construction and engineering company that offers clients turn-key solutions. We deliver a wide variety of services in planning, deploying, and maintaining cable networks. Our expertise can guide new internet projects through their entire development.


Sources:

https://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/contents.html#Install
https://www.newswise.com/politics/california-wildfires-make-underground-utilities-an-infrastructure-priority/?article_id=755642
https://www.ecmag.com/section/integrated-systems/hurdling-obstacles-installing-aerial-fiber-optic-cables

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