What is fibre micro-trenching?

MetroFibre Networx says it has installed fibre infrastructure in the Port Elizabeth suburb of Summerstrand using micro-trenching.

Micro-trenching is a fibre-laying technique that uses specialised machines to cut a narrow and shallow trench into a road’s surface, alongside the pavement where the curb and the tarmac meet, rather than traditional fibre laying techniques which require much larger trenches to be dug.

“A micro-trench is typically 30-50 millimetres wide and can be up to 400 millimetres deep, although usually about 200 millimetres for fibre purposes,” said the company.

“The fibre conduit and cable are then placed in this micro-trench and the area is then backfilled and sealed with a specialised trench grout which restores the road back to its original surface.”

According to Henry Wilkens, Project Manager at MetroFibre Networx, deployment time when using micro-trenching is reduced by up to 80% compared to traditional methods, and the chance of damaging surrounding infrastructure is also greatly reduced.

“For residents of Summerstrand in Nelson Mandela Bay, the council’s decision to test the micro-trenching process has been an absolute win,” said Wilkens.

MetroFibre Networx said it completed the process of covering a 5km area in Summerstrand in under two weeks, resulting in significantly reduced levels of disruption to residents.

“We are looking at deploying this methodology more widely in our national operations,” said Wilkens.

Read: How to get a fibre line connected to your home in South Africa

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What is fibre micro-trenching?