Microtrenching bill lands in California senate with the wrong answer to the right question


Microtrenching – cutting a narrow slit in a road, inserting fiber and sealing it with glue – is an excellent tool that can result in faster broadband infrastructure deployment at lower costs. But like any tool, it’s only useful when it suits the job at hand. One of the main reasons – I’d say the main reason – the technique isn’t used more often is that there’s no set of best practices, design specifications and employment parameters that is commonly accepted by broadband companies, utility operators and, crucially, the public works and transportation officials who are responsible for road construction and maintenance.… More

Louisville’s Google project failed, but it was experimental success

20 March 2019 by Steve Blum
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“Have a healthy disregard for the impossible", is a quote attributed to Google co-founder Larry Page. It’s a philosophy that took Google from two Stanford grads in a garage to being, on some days, the biggest company on the planet. It’s an acknowledgement that people aren’t always – or even usually – correct when they say you can’t do something. And it’s acceptance that sometimes the experts will be right.

(N.B. “Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why.… More

Microtrenching fail drives Google Fiber out of Louisville

8 February 2019 by Steve Blum
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Jack rabbit 625

Google Fiber is bailing of Louisville, Kentucky because it screwed up its fiber build there. In an attempt to move quickly and save money, Google forgot the iron law of engineering:

Good, fast, cheap. Pick any two.

Google went with fast and cheap, and it turned out not so good. The problem was microtrenching, and its little brother, nanotrenching. Which particular techniques were the problem isn’t clear, but the result is. According to Google’s blog post yesterday…

We’re not living up to the high standards we set for ourselves, or the standards we’ve demonstrated in other Fiber cities.


Prospective microtrenching is one more tool in the muni broadband kit

Measuring the benefit.

The idea behind open trench and shadow conduit policies is that you can minimise damage to roads and maximise the future benefit of fiber by doing everything at once, rather than tearing up pavement whenever a project comes along. Even if you don’t need the conduit right away, the small marginal cost of putting conduit into an open trench could be offset just by the money saved on road maintenance.

A rule of thumb is that cutting into a street reduces its remaining lifespan by 10%.… More