It’s no secret that demand for high-speed internet is consistently increasing around the country. But with this demand comes the necessity for quick, convenient, and cost-effective fiber-optic installation processes - and utility contractors to do the work.
Rather than use traditional fiber installation methods, which involve digging expansive trenches and expending large amounts of time and human resources, read on to learn how microtrenching and directional drilling can reduce your installation cost and maximize on-site productivity.
The first and most important step in reducing your financial footprint in fiber-optic cable installation is to know the scale and environment of your job. For urban and suburban sites, which often require minimal disruption and quick implementation, the utilization of microtrenchers cuts installation time and required labor, therefore reducing the overall cost.
Rather than digging a deep, wide trench – which requires a larger rig and disrupts surrounding utilities – microtrenching cuts a narrow, shallow trench to lay fiber-optic cable while avoiding interference with other utility lines. More specifically, Ditch Witch microtrenchers use a specialized Fiberblade that cleanly slices through concrete or asphalt in one pass. The quick, minimal disturbance process massively reduces the cost-per-foot of laying cable when compared to traditional trenchers.
This method of fiber installation makes geographically complex projects easier to manage and takes less time than traditional trenchers, creating a cost-effective alternative to traditional fiber installation practices. When paired with a vacuum excavator, microtrenchers also offer reduced down-time and manual clean up on installation sites.
When is microtrenching preferred?
- In compact urban and suburban job sites along paved rights-of-way
- Year-round: Microtrenchers can use a dry-cut method, which allows for fiber-network building even in the coldest seasons
- On road-work projects – The cuts made by microtrenchers are narrow enough that contractors can often allow road access to cars throughout the installation
- On tough materials, like concrete and solid rock
In contrast to the compact urban uses of microtrenchers, directional drills and other directional boring options are becoming the standard when working around residential areas and tricky landscapes. The trenchless process is ideal for single home fiber-optic cable installation as well as instances in which homeowners or stakeholders require limited disruption to surrounding environments.
Cut cots in residential fiber installation with a directional boring machine that avoids utility lines and has little to no clean-up. You’ll save time and required labor, reducing the cost of your operation in relatively little time.
When is directional boring preferred?
- On yards, driveways, residential hills, and other complex landscaped areas
- Under tough operator conditions, including embankments, sidehills, water crossings, wooded areas, and other adverse terrains
- When minimal surface disturbance is required
- When contractors have approval for road closures
Keep Up with Industry Trends
It’s no question to industry experts that demand for fiber-optic cable installation will continue to grow with the ever-increasing consumer and corporate desire for high-speed internet. In fact, as the tech industry expands beyond Silicon Valley and into places like Austin, Seattle, and Nashville, the need for easy installation processes across the country will expand with it.
The Ditch With team has seen this shift first-hand; Ditch Witch directional drill product manager Jeff Davis says of horizontal directional drills (HDD): “The fiber market is probably what 75% of what these drills are used for.” But the installation process itself is changing.
Across the fiber-optic cable installation landscape, more contractors are turning to compact rigs in their purchasing decisions; in fact, 51% of contractors surveyed in a recent directional drilling survey said they anticipate buying a mini-rig in their next rig purchase, as opposed to mid- or large-rigs.
Utilizing the innovations in smaller microtrenchers and drills can be an efficient way to save money in your installation projects, without compromising productivity.
For instance, the compact JT5 Directional Drill, best when paired with a vibratory plow, is a horizontal directional drill that has the ability to lay cable in an array of materials typically found around a property, making it a great option for residential properties in which a contractor doesn’t want to alter the surrounding landscape.
Another option is the Ditch Witch MT9 Microtrencher, which is specifically designed for tight, compact spaces. The smaller size allows contractors to either push or pull the machine while keeping the saw in the ground for quicker completion times. Designed to attach to a mini skid steer, the MT9 allows contractors to spend little money on a compact urban or residential installations
Whatever your needs, Ditch Witch West is at the forefront of the fiber installation industry, so we can keep you up-to-date on the most cost-effective, innovative installation technologies. We offer powerful, precise equipment to prepare construction crews for the future of fiber-optic installation and high-speed internet without breaking the bank. From mictrotrenchers and directional drills to customizable attachments to supplement your trenchers, our equipment will help you save time and money in your fiber installation projects.
Browse our selection of directional drills and microtrenchers before your next fiber-optic cable installation job. Our experts at your nearest Ditch Witch dealer will help you find the machine you need to reduce your installation cost and increase productivity.