Growth of Fiber Optics and How Horizontal Directional Drilling Can Help

Fiber optic cable is one of the fastest-growing technological advancements as it benefits both businesses and consumers. Studies have predicted a CAGR of 8.5% from 2020 – 2025, with the market nearing $7.25 billion by 2025.

This growth means more fiber-optic lines are laid every day. Unfortunately, the traditional open-cut method is often impractical and expensive, limiting access.

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) is a better alternative for your trenching needs, and the experienced team at BoreWorx has completed bore projects for the installation of fiber optic cables.

The Growth of Fiber Optics

The rapid growth of fiber optics can be attributed to several factors.

Innovative technology advances

Fiber optic isn’t just for the internet in a home. For example, 5G cell services rely on the speed of fiber optic cable. All-Optical Networks (AON) have increased the distance of fiber optic cable and increased speed. At the same time, Radio-Over-Fiber (ROF) allows innovation in public works and construction projects since radio signals run through fiber don’t experience interference.

City- and country-wide communication infrastructure projects

In March 2020, the stark reality that an internet connection is necessary became apparent. Unfortunately, many people were left in the dark, with children unable to complete school assignments while they were remote. As a result, city, state, and country-wide fiber optic infrastructure projects became solutions.

San Francisco recently committed to running a city-wide fiber-optic network, making it the first city to do so. An 8,000-mile fiber optic line is in the works to connect Los Angeles to Hong Kong. In addition, there are two plans to install fiber optic cable underwater around Africa to increase communication to the entire continent.

Higher data usage

As consumers ditch cable for streaming and other video-on-demand services, they need more bandwidth than a traditional data line can’t handle. The use of social media to stream live events, teleconference services like Zoom as people work remotely, and the increase in online gaming have all contributed to consumers’ demands for the faster, more reliable internet fiber optics provides.

Benefits of Horizontal Directional Drilling

Laying fiber optic cable requires a complex process that can be disruptive to the area around it. HDD offers solutions to those challenges.

Faster installation

When laying fiber optic cable via trenching, several steps are involved, including clearing the land, disposing of the waste, excavating the earth, laying the line, backfilling, and restoring the surrounding area. Depending on the depth of the trench, it may need to be shored up to protect workers as they lay the line. All this means that the average crew can only lay 100 feet of cable a day.

Because HDD doesn’t involve disturbing the earth’s surface, it involves fewer steps: drilling a pilot hole using a steerable drill, using a reamer to widen the trench, pulling pipe back through the trench, and laying the line. An experienced HDD team can lay about 600 feet of cable a day.

Requires less manpower/fewer operators

Once the drill is placed, one operator guides the drill from a remote location. Once the drill is through to the exit point, only a few workers need to be on hand to connect the pipes. Not only does this lower cost, but it also puts fewer people at risk on the job site.

Lower costs

Because installation is faster and requires less manpower, HDD is cheaper than traditional trenching methods. It also does not damage the surrounding area, which saves on repair costs for repaving roadways or restoring landscaping.

Less environmental impact

Traditional trenching methods disturb the environment and destroy habitats. For example, trees are knocked down, the grass is dug up, and waterways may be muddied. Since HDD doesn’t require any damage above the earth, no habitats are disturbed, and less dust enters the air.

Greater flexibility

Existing utility lines, subways, sewer systems, and underground infrastructure can make traditional trenching difficult in urban areas. The equipment used in trenching, like backhoes, lacks the precision needed to navigate between them, leading to service interruptions.

HDD only drills holes the size needed for the pipes and can easily move around existing infrastructure. It can also be used in areas where open-cut methods are impractical or prohibited, like embankments, highways, lakes, rivers, and national parks.

Partner With BoreWorx for Efficient Communications Infrastructure Development

Fiber optic cable is delicate, so it’s essential you contract with a company that has experience handling communication cables. BoreWorx has more than 40 years of experience in HDD and has successfully laid the latest in fiber optic and communication infrastructure. Contact us today to get a quote for your HDD project.

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